Author Archives: John Hagensieker

BEST Swiss Army Knife To CARRY

Oh boy, the age old question for people who carry a Swiss Army Knife………Which one is best?  However the question should be……..Which one is best for me for the conditions I’m going to encounter?

I have LOTS of Swiss Army Knives.  LOTS.  And I try very hard to carry and use them all so I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my money.  But invariably you wonder if you could only have one, which one would it be?  I’m going to just get to the point and name the knife I’ve chosen.  Many may cringe.  Some will agree.

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Getting A Great Swiss Army Knife On The Cheap

Do you love Swiss Army Knives?  I love Swiss Army Knives.  I’ve been carrying multi-tools for years.  I’m kind of a fan of the Medium sized knives however they tend to run upwards of $30 or   so and some of them way more than that.  Even though they are worth every penny there is a way so essentially get a “new” knife for just less than $20, even cheaper if you can find an inexpensive source for “Scales”.

Scales are the plastic colored outer housing pieces on your Swiss Army Knife.  They are pretty easily changed as well.

I have kind of figured out that the going rate for an “old” Swiss Army Knife (91mm), unless it is something collectible is about $5.  Go to the antique store.  $5.  All manner of eBay auctions can be won for $5

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Swiss Army Knives – Multitools

I’ve loved pocketknives ever since I was a Cub Scout and got my first real pocketknife which looked something like the knife below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It had a SCREWDRIVER which I guess made it my first multi-tool.   Now I’m not into knives or blades, have no desire to cut anyone or myself but the concept of carrying around useful tools in your pocket has always fascinated me and it maybe did come from scouting where they taught you to always be prepared.

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A Tale Of Two Decoders – OP25 & DSDPlus

It was the best of decoders, it was the worst of decoders……… As you can tell I’m quite the literate bastard and highly up to speed on my Dickens.

I love digital signal decoding as it is almost something that you seemingly aren’t supposed to do, hence the attraction of it all.   There are several hunks of software that can decode digital signals and each one has it’s strength and weaknesses.  The ones I have dabbled around with are:

There are certainly others, not to mention maybe the most powerful one (but by far the one that requires the most geek foo) is GNURadio.

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DSD+ Trunking Tutorial

One of my favorite programs for decoding digital audio is DSDPlus.  I’ve been using it a couple of years to dissect and decode SINGLE digital signals.  Like for instance if I’m in the airport or airport hotel I can listen to DMR radio where the baggage handlers are talking to each other, or the mall cops are planning how to be real cops.  Or you can hear the hotel staff on their radios which is sometimes really fun.

BUT…….DSDPlus also follows Digital Trunked Radio.  That is where there is a Control Channel which is monitored and then the calls are “trunked” to available frequencies allowing for more users to use the system without confusion.  Also users can be placed into Talk Groups which keeps down the confusion even more.  Entire cities can use one radio system to control municipal services such as Police, Fire, EMS, Public Works, Events, etc.

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Know Your Roots, Geek

The goal in geekdom is to always advance the skills but we should NEVER forget where we came from and re-visiting it from time to time is nostalgic and cool to the up and coming geeks.

One particular rite of passage for being a geek is taking an Altoids tin and doing something geeky with it.   Here’s my favorite project and then right after showing this I’ll go further back into my geek roots with my first Altoids tin project.

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Red Oxx Bags

Ok…..This started innocently enough.  I’m into short wave radio and saw a website where a guy had a little cloth bag that looked kind of sort of military in style, and looked very durable.  He used the bag for a radio, power brick, antenna, etc.   As I was looking at that picture I kept keying back in on that bag………..so I emailed the guy and said “what bag is that”?

Red Oxx was the reply.  So I ordered one of these bags which was called the Lil ‘Roy.

 

And wow is this thing ever built great!

So I used it for the shortwave radio and then this cute gal around the corner needed something fixed.  So I’m looking and looking for something to carry my tools in and then it hits me.  Lil Roy is a tool carrying machine!

 

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Whistler TRX-1 With P25 Phase 1 LSM system

I have a Whistler TRX-1 Police Scanner and live in New Bern, NC.  There are two systems that I track in New Bern.

The New Bern Public Safety (NBPS) and North Carolina VIPER system.   VIPER works great however the New Bern Public Safety……..not so much. It only rarely grabs a transmission and then if it does it is very broken up or robotic. Not good.

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The Aftermath of Hurricane Florence

Thanks to TV reporters pretending the storm was a lot worse than it was the entirety of the free world thinks that all of New Bern is destroyed and is now just like the Lost Colony of Roanoke.  I’m not trying to minimize the damage to New Bern as it was substantial but New Bern is a Semi-Large Small Town and everyone doesn’t own a home or business on the River.

Basically the Hurricane created HARD days all of Thursday and Friday with some wind and rain on Saturday but no so bad that you couldn’t perform your recovery actions.

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Hurricane Flo – Part Deux

As Barry Manilow said……….”Looks like we made it”.  The hurricane is over but the aftermath lingers on.   This is me at 2AM.  What a fella won’t do for coffee.  When times are hard having your favorite beverage helps tremendously.  I can’t stress enough what a morale booster it is.

Day 3 of no power begins.  I have a full generator tank and 10 gallons of gas left. I also have 1 inverter generator with about half a tank and THREE more waiting that says I can keep the fridge on a few more days.

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