A Better Mouse Trap

This is a little thing I made for the kiddies for Halloween. It really works.
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Movie Script: 2020 Field Day in South Park

Explanation of the purpose of a shooting script.

When making any movie, writing any script, taking any photograph, the author should have in mind his audience. This video is for people who are unfamiliar with amateur radio. This script is the skeleton of the final results. Written dialogue is only a suggestion of what can be said. People will always tell things in their own words—except for Big Dummy, who is used in the video as a way to ask simple questions and, therefore, allow for discussion or explanations.

At the very end of the video, Big Dummy will be revealed as a skilled amateur radio operator.

EXT. DAY Field Day Area:

Sound of softly ticking clock.

Establishing shot of South Park. Trees, Field, Wildlife, sound of a clock ticking a bit louder. .

People sitting in their shelter.

No one is doing anything—just waiting.

A person flexing his index finger and thumb, as if he were going phony exercises.

CU of clock, 1 minute to 12 noon. “Tick, tick, tick, tick.

A person slowly puts on his head phones and mike. He carefully adjusts it.

ECU of clock: 30 seconds to 12 noon. ‘TICK, TICK, TICK, TICK.’

CU of radio. It is on but there is a low hiss but no heterodyne.

XECU of clock 15 seconds to 12 noon. ‘TICK, TICK, TICK, TICK.’

People hunker down to their notebooks and radios. Everyone is ready for something but it is not obvious what. The guy exercising his fingers positions them at a keyer.

XXECU of clock as it ticks down the last five seconds. Each tick sounds like a drum until the second had is straight up.

One second of absolute silence.

Quick series of freeze frames.

Suddenly, everyone is talking. People are turning their radios. Much heterodyne. Morse code noise. People calling:

Six PIP of many operators.


C Q Field Day. C Q Field Day. N 3 S H calling C Q from South Park Pennsylvania. Over.

Animated Map of USA. Specific areas lite up to show the station broadcasting

Response to CQ:


Amateur Radio June 27, 2020

Field Day


The Search for Elmer

Originating from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

More examples of communication

Who Is Elmer?

EXT. DAY Field Day Area

Car Interior. POV

BD getting out of car.

A stereotypical Big Dummy walks up to several hams. He looks like he has no idea where he is and walks like a bull in a china shop.



Wires and cables all over the place,

Antenna Tower,




BD (Big Dummy) Voice Over

Wow. What is going on here?

BD walks up to some radio operators.


Hi guys. I was told to ask for Elmer. Who is Elmer?

Ham 1

I am Elmer

A Spartacus Moment.

Ham 2

I am Elmer

Two hams together.

I am Elmer

Female Ham

I am Elmer

The BD is obviously confused.


Elmer is the name given to a person who helps another person learn about amateur radio.

A group of 50+ hams say in unison.

Hi. I am Elmer.

A Sexist Moment

BD notices that one of the Hams is a woman.


You have girls that are ham radio operators

This generates many evil looks from the women hams and other hams: Anger, amazement, you stupid idiot, shaking of heads.

What is a Ham?


Why are you people called “hams”.


That’s a good question. Originally, ham referred to a bad actor. To the professional broadcasting world, us nonprofessional operators were “bad actors”.  We were hams.

When government allotted which radio frequencies were to be used by which group, they gave us the high frequency range,  because everyone believed that they were useless. To everyone surprise, the amateurs found ways to transmit much further than anyone thought possible and we could do it with less power.

People were impressed, but we are still called “hams”.

Why so many Antennas?

EXT. DAY Field Day Area

DB looking up at antenna.

Montage of many antennas


Why do you need so many antennas?


Each antenna has a resonance or frequency – kind of like a guitar string. Our challenge is to get our antenna vibrating at the same rate as an antenna in Alaska or Siberia. When we do that, then we can talk to each other.


Establishing shot: Person with guitar.

CU: Guitar string being plucked.

CU: Guitar string vibrating.

MS:  Person tuning the guitar. Sound of pitch changing.

EXT. DAY Field Day Area


Can’t an antenna work on more than one frequency?


Yes, we can force it, but we lose some signal strength and when you are trying to send a signal thousands of miles with only 100 watts, you don’t want to lose of it.

Your typical commercial radio station is putting out thousands of watts of power. We are very weak, so we use very big antennas.


YouTube Video: ATT Archives – Similarities of Wave Behavior (Bonus Edition).mp4

Planning for Field Day

EXT. DAY Field Day Area


How did all this stuff get here?


Physically, we started putting it up yesterday. However, our plans for this year started at the end of field day last year. Or you could say it started may years ago because we’ve been doing this for many years.

INT. NIGHT: Operators around table, reviewing the plans for Field Day,

Camp Set Up maps.


The 80-meter, we can put that here.

The tower will go here (pointing to map)

Setting Up

EXT. DAY: Flash back of the day before field day

Montage of setup.

Montage: Putting up the antenna.

Putting in anchors.

Stringing and Connecting coax

Putting up Tent

Setting up table.

Moving equipment

Positioning radios on tables




Connecting cable and coax.

Powering Up Equipment

Antenna Raising

Positioning the trailer.

Lilting the tower up.

Raising the tower.

The Potato Gun (a joke)

Ext. Day

Music: such as the final scene in the Good, Bad, and the Ugly.

Ham pull out his gun which looks like something from Men in Black..

Operator, with snake eyes, looks from side to side.

Down the field is another person.

They look at each other with steely eyes.

He takes a few steps to one side.
The other man takes a few steps the other way.

First man takes a large, unknown item and slips it into the barrel of the gun.

The two men stare at each other.

Music get more dramatic and louder.

The second man takes off his hat with his left hand but still holds it. We never see his other hand.

The music stops.

Both look over to a third person with a tape recorder.

Audio Man

I think the batteries died.

Suddenly, he raises the gun, aims it high and shoots.

The ball flies, with line streaming behind.

It passes over a tree limb.

The other man catches the ball in the hat

It is a potato with a string going through it.

He attaches a heavier line.

The line is pulled back and hooked to an antenna to it.

They return the potato to the mess area.

Later, the scullery picks up the potato, notes the hole through the middle, ponders a moment, shrugs her shoulders, and adds it to the others.

EXT. DAY Field Day Area


Sunday, we will take it down (beat) until next year.


Ham walking round the park, looking at the setting.

Hot Seat Questions

Rapid series of Hams in the interview chair.

I am (Call Sign)

My name is (First Name)

Rapid series of Hams in the chair.

Voice OS

Why are you a ham?

Hams Answers:

Because it is fun.

Who needs a reason?

Voice OS

What is the most interesting contact you made?

Voice OS

What is the longest distance…?

Voice OS

Have you ever responded to an emergency?

Closing Scene


The BD is still in the big dummy mode.

Director’s Voice OS

Cut. Print it. That’s a wrap. .

EXT. DAY Cameraman starts to take down his camera. Director is making notes in his book.

The BD, in Big Dummy mode, changes to a person who is no longer playing a part. He looks directly at the camera, puts on the hat with his call sign, smiles and says:


Hi. I’m N7TDX (beat)

and my name is ______ (beat)

But you can call me Elmer.


Open Topics

Purpose of field day.

What are the contester designations?

A GOTA station for visitors.

Contact map. Location lights up when someone is transmitting.

Location of the WASH club.

What does WASH mean?

Morse Code demo:

               Jay Leno video

What do the Q sign mean? QSL, GL, QRZ

Someone almost gets clothes lined by a guy wire.

Azimuth map.

Time laps video of set up.

Food station.

Phonetic Alphabet.

Equipment Profile.

Cars with antennas.

Signal strength

Is something a big problem or little problem?

End of contest.

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Making a Fruit Fly Trap

Tired of being buzzed by kamikaze gnats and flies? Give them an incentive to go some where else, such as the fly version of the Hotel California, where you can check in but not check out.

Material: A jar or bottle with a wide mouth, or a  disposable water bottle. In this example,  we see both possibilities.

Other Materials: Paper, Tape, Fruit, Scissors or knife

With a plastic water bottle, make it into a wide mouth bottle by  cutting off the top.

Make the paper into a cone shape. Secure with tape.

Ensure there is a pencil sized hole in the point of the cone.

Cut off paper so that the cone fits snugly into the mouth of the bottle.

The bottom of the cone should be about ½ inch from touching the bottom of the bottle.

Bait the trap. They are ‘fruit’ flies, so I use ‘fruit,’ must smell good to them. I use just enough fruit to attract a fruit fly.

I eat the remainder of the fruit (Optional)

With the bait in the bottle, tape around the top of the opening to secure the cone to the bottle. Ensure there are no gaps between the bottle and the paper cone.

Set the trap where it would be easy to find, for a fruit fly.

What will happen?

The flies will follow the scent of the fruit and go down through the hole in the bottom of the cone. When trying to escape, they will fly up the inside of the bottle to the taped seal. You will know you caught some because you can watch them searching for an exit. Eventually,  they will stop, where they will have some time to contemplate the shortness of their lives.

After several days, you can throw the bottle away or clean it and start over.

Note: A fruit fly is about 4 mm long, or about the height of a capital letter in this document. Regardless of what is flying around your house, this trap works.

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We are Being Sifted?

I’ve been collecting seeds, mostly seeds from the ornamental flowers around the house. Each type of seed has to be handled in the right way to separate the seed from extra foliage, little pieces of leaves, fluff and sand. Petunia seeds are so small, they fall through the mesh of my finest sieve. I like working with Celosia seed. They  will fall through all sieves except the finest.

Sometimes, I have to let a flower stalk ripen and dry before I can collect the seeds. Other times, I must crush the dried seed pods with my thumb. Purple Cone flowers require patients. I must wait until the flowering head is black and dried. Then I put them in a metal container with a tight lid and shake them.  Sometimes, I pour the seeds from one container to another while I blow on them.

Celosia Seed after Sifting

When I’m satisfied with the purified seed, I will take 10 seeds, put them in a small plastic bag with a damp paper towel and watch to see if they will germinate. Sometimes, I must wait a week before I see those little green sprouts. Sometimes nothing happens.

Wheat Sprouting, 10 for 10.

While doing this, it occurred to me that the people of our world are going through a similar process. We are being winnowed, crushed, sifted, and sorted.

We’ve been without regular church services for half a year. When the doors open, how many people will be there? How many will be so small that they fall through the smallest sieve, or how many won’t make it through the largest sieve. How many can’t endure a little breeze and will fly away like chaff. How many can’t stand being crushed?

Finally, I wonder, am I going to be a good seed?

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Mask to Mask Meeting

High School Lion with Mask

When working at a nuclear facility, I frequently had to wear an air particulate respirator. I’m not talking about the N-95 mask that people wear to protect against Covid-19. This was the full-face rubber mask with a filter as big as your fist. We called it ‘sucking rubber’, and it was as unpleasant as it sounds.

I remember wearing one while sitting most of one night shift in winter, outside  on top of a nuclear reactor while the engineers tried to determine if they had a big problem or a little one. (It was little, but we didn’t know it at the time.)

Typical Full Face Respirator

Moisture would condense on the inside of the mask and I would slap the mask so as to make water streaks across the inside of the  mast so that I could see out.

I also remember  when I took the mask off, one of my co-workers burst out laughing. “Do you know what you look like?” “Yes,” I said. “I know.” The mast had left major grooves in my face. Also, the front of my coat looked like a quart of water had been poured done the front—this from my breath’s condensate.

I trained on use of a fireman’s air tank. They had us go up three flights of stairs and back down. I felt like I was breathing through a hose that was one size too small. I have heard that fire fighters in training would play volleyball while wearing air packs. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do that. I’m terrible at volleyball.

If you are wearing a respirator and feel like you are fighting to breathe, you are normal. The primary purpose of the training was to get us accustomed to that feeling.

You need to tell yourself to take deep breaths and to remain calm.

Once, I was wearing an N-95 mask around aluminum powder. When I removed the mask, I could see the grey streaks of aluminum powder around my nose. This happened because of a poorly fitting mask. This is what the experts mean when they say that the N-95 mask is not effective. The mask must be  tight against your face.  I will wear an N-95 mask while shopping or while working-out in the gym, though, I admit that I occasionally take it off so I can get a few unrestricted breaths.

If you are uncomfortable with the N-95 mask, then practice. Wear it even when you don’t need.

A few facts about respirators:

  • The N-95 reduces harmful particulates. It doesn’t reduce the risk to zero. The “95” means 95% effective for 1 micron particles, when worn correctly.
  • The mask comes with a metal nose piece which you are expected to shape to fit your face.
  • The Covid-19 virus is small and can go through the filter—HOWEVER, when it bounces off the fibers, it is damaged, thus greatly reducing the risk.
  • Particulate masks with exhaust valves can protect you from others but does nothing to protect them from you.
  • The mask does nothing if you wear it under your nose, which was the situation of about half the people I encountered in the grocery store.
  • Surgical masks are designed to protect the patient from anything you have.
  • These home-made cotton masks are even less effective.
  • Wearing anything is better than wearing nothing.

Finally, an N-95 mask is more comfortable than sucking rubber. 

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How Grandma Watered Her Lawn

This was my grandmother in 1964. She was two years younger than I am right now. She would put on knee high boots and water her lawn with a 4 inch diameter canvas hose. I remember taking the photo and thinking how great it would be, but my camera and my technical failed me. Only recently have I developed the skill to recover the photo and convert it to this drawing.

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Growing My Own Seeds

Last spring, when it was planting time, I found myself confined to my house. Growing a garden was “non essential” and some stores were closed and larger stores had closed their gardening sections. Plus, I was looking at a beautiful green lawn rather than freshly turned soil. I promised myself that I would never be in this situation again.

Now, when possible, I grow and collect my own seeds.

I made sure I was buying only ‘heirloom’ seeds and plants (as opposed to hybrid seeds and plants). With heirloom plants, it is easy to perpetuate your plants from year to year. Seeds from hybrid plants will revert to an unknown parentage and there is no way to know what that might be.

With peas, just collect those over ripe, dried up pods that you missed during your first few pickings.

Tomato seeds are easy to collect but must be fermented for a week before drying. Check on YouTube to see how this is done.

Carrots seed comes from a mature carrot on the second year.

When digging potatoes, I set the small bite size tubers to one side. They are the seed for next year.

When I dead head my ornamental flowers, I’ll allow a small portion to fully mature. These are for next year.

Petunia seeds are so small, you almost can’t see them.

Before planting any of my seeds, I’ll do a germination test.

Finally,  I’ve already ordered and received many of my seeds for next spring.

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Why the Coloring Book Drawings?

So, someone is wondering why I create theses simple coloring book drawing from a photograph—why not just go to the photo? There are three reasons:

  • Sometimes the photo is so poor, so confusing or lacking in aesthetic quality that it should be discarded. However, I might see that it has potential.  I use the line drawing is a way to correct the flaws in the photo.
  • When it is 3 AM and I’m tired but incapable of sleep, making the drawing is easy, relaxing and satisfying.
  • It is good practice and helps me develop my skills.
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We have a beautiful view out our back window. This is what it looked like for a year in 46 seconds.

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Video: Another Day in the Life of a Daylily

I made a more detailed view of a Daylily’s existence, shown at 600 time normal speed.


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