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QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo August 14, 2021: More Info   Leave a comment

No Tools Troubleshooting presentation by Wayne Yoshida KH6WZ at the Third QSO Today Virtual Expo, August 14 and 15, 2021

Gene Kranz, my troubleshooting hero. Kranz, played by actor Ed Harris, is featured in the movie Apollo 13.
Gene Kranz NASA Flight Director (retired). Kranz celebrated his 88th birthday on August 17. NASA photo

Gene Kranz – my troubleshooting hero

My presentation is inspired by two things: Observing a problem during an emergency communications drill and the movie “Apollo 13,” starring Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell and Ed Harris as Gene Kranz.

Kranz’s experience, decision-making and guidance helped the massive team of experts to troubleshoot and resolve the crisis on the mission. All by “remote control” and without tools.

In our everyday operations no matter what the conditions or situations are, someday, something will go wrong. We must be prepared for this and try to get back on the air, sometimes quickly.

The basic concept to troubleshooting – anything – is the need to understand how the item works, in its most basic sense. For receivers and transmitters, it can be as simple as this:

Very basic receiver and transmitter concept

An increased understanding of how the item works often helps the troubleshooting process.

Next, consider why something is not working correctly – develop a theory – and then check to verify whether your assessment is correct.

Guessing and replacing parts is usually time consuming, expensive and often never solves the problem.

Another Way to Look At Things

Sometimes, we must think about what it is not, rather than what it is or can be.

For example, my front-loading clothes washer developed a problem: rinse water was in the compartment when the washer finished. At first, the bin was just moist, but when it was filled to the top, I decided to correct this to prevent a possible flood.

Doing some research on the internet, I found many entries about the detergent dispenser not working, and not adding soap into the washer.

Although this is not exactly like my issue, it is similar. All repair suggestions centered around the water supply not flowing properly into the detergent bin.

The solutions included making sure the water supply had enough pressure, cleaning the incoming water supply path into the dispenser using a piece of wire or a pipe cleaner, and cleaning the detergent dispenser.

This made the suggestions almost useless for solving my problem, since the fabric softener was going into the washer, and, since there was rinse water in the softener bin, water supply is not the problem.

I had to think about this some more: Water in the bin means water supply is fine. Softener is going into the washer. But why was the softener bin full, all the way to the top? Normally, the amount of liquid softener fills the bin at less than an inch.

So, something is not allowing it to drain, the opposite of filling it.

I checked to see if the washer was level. Maybe gravity helps drain the bin. Nope, a bubble level confirmed the washer was level in all directions.

Wait! There was something about cleaning the dispenser. I examined the dispenser tray unit and noticed the softener path was different from the detergent path.

I disassembled the dispenser tray and cleaned out the softener hole and mating tube. There was not much to clean, so I was not sure it would make a difference.

clothes washer dispenser bin wayne yoshida KH6WZ
Clothes washer fabric softener dispenser

I ran a batch of laundry. The problem is fixed!

Understanding how something works and observing symptoms when it does not work, will often lead to a solution.

A Question for Later

There was an excellent question from the session: “How do we prevent things from going wrong in the first place – what are some best practices to prevent things from going wrong?”

This will be the topic of a future CQ magazine “Ham Notebook” column.

If you have any questions on troubleshooting basics, or if you have a story about how you solved an equipment problem to get back on the air, let me know, and I will share your story in an upcoming update to this presentation!

Turkey Breast Pastrami on the Big Green Egg   Leave a comment

I love a good pastrami sandwich. The salty, peppery, thinly-sliced meat on a toasted bun with a little mustard kind of pastrami sandwich, like they serve at a place in West Los Angeles (Culver City) called Johnnie’s Pastrami. Amazingly, my dad used to go there when he was a single dude in the 1950s. . . . and he brought us kids there. I still remember the bowl of pickles and the giant box of French fries – and of course, the pastrami sandwich. On the Johnnie’s Pastrami “About” page, it says, “Johnnie’s Pastrami was established in 1952 and has become a Southern California landmark. The juke boxes on the counters and booths are all original. So are some of the waitresses.”

So when I saw the Turkey Pastrami on the  first season of Primal Grill (on DVD), I had to give it a try. It was several summers ago, and I looked at several supermarkets for a turkey breast, but couldn’t find any. So I made it with chicken breasts instead. And it tasted great!

Earlier today, I made turkey breast pastrami – and it is equally good, although a little on the too salty side for me. I think this is because I marinated the turkey breasts too long (almost 2 days) instead of 24 hours. I will try it again to see if I can get a better result.

Here’s how we did today. . . . .. .

Dry rub marinade for turkey pastrami

Dry rub marinade for turkey pastrami

On the Big Green Egg - 250 degrees F, with some hickory chips.

On the Big Green Egg – 250 degrees F, with some hickory chips.

Slicing the turkey pastrami - so juicy it squirts!

Slicing the turkey pastrami – so juicy it squirts!

A plate of turkey pastrami slices

A plate of turkey pastrami slices

Thanksgiving 2013: Orange-Brined Turkey and Stuffing   Leave a comment

San Diego Mini Maker Faire is Saturday December 7!   Leave a comment


Announcing San Diego Mini Maker Faire 2013 - Visit the Maker Booth called "Not Your Grandpa's Ham Radio"

Announcing San Diego Mini Maker Faire 2013 – Visit the Maker Booth called “Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio”

Maker Faire – where art, science and technology crash together!

>> Click here for more info! <<


Skiing season is almost here. The rain earlier this week (Oct 9 and 10) generated some snow. Woolly the mammoth statue near the Main Lodge has a dusting of the white stuff, and it already looks good.Mammoth announced their Opening Day: November 7!

Fed by Agility Fuel Systems: Kenworth T660s for Paper Transport   Leave a comment

Great announcement from Paper Transport in Green Bay, WI, USA. Nice mention of the Agility Fuel Systems and how their natural gas fleet is both cost-effective and clean. Click here to see the story….

BBQ Experiment: Falafel on the Big Green Egg   Leave a comment

Early last week, a co-worker bought a falafel plate for lunch. That made me want some all week long. Since do not like to fry foods in my kitchen (too messy) I wanted to try making some on my Big Green Egg.

I searched for a recipe and found this one on a great site called The Shiksa in the Kitchen. It is a traditional recipe, and shows some great pictures of the process, including frying them. I thought this might just work. . . . >>> Click here to see the Shiksa in the Kitchen recipe for traditional falafel.

But it did not turn out as well as I thought. I ate them anyway, but there just was not enough spice. I wanted the cumin and pepper to stand out a lot more. And it was too mushy on the inside – even after almost an hour of baking. I used my recipe for tzaziki sauce. >>> Click here for an interesting beef recipe and the yogurt-dill-cucumber sauce called tzaziki on the BGE forum.

Here are some pictures of this edible but failed attempt. . .

Just a few seconds ago, I found this oven baked version for falafel on a site called Cookie and Kate:  I might try this falafel recipe next time I fire up the BGE. 

Pacific Islander Festival Orange County   Leave a comment

kh6wz HB Pacific Islander Festival 9-21-2013 066

The disaster Preparedness Expo at the Huntington Beach Central Library on September 21 coincided with the Pacific Islander Festival Orange County. It was the 6th annual event…. I stopped to take some pictures and bought a t-shirt, but didn’t stay to watch the programs. There was plenty of exotic foods and displays.

The Huntington Beach events website said, “This fantastic event is meant to be spent among “friends”. The hospitality of the California’s island people originating from  Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, Aotearoa,  Northern Marianas, Belau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Fiji, is undeniably alluring and enchanting, as you’ll see when you come to the free Polynesian fest. . . . ”

kh6wz HB Pacific Islander Festival 9-21-2013 065

kh6wz HB Pacific Islander Festival 9-21-2013 067

kh6wz HB Pacific Islander Festival 9-21-2013 069

Looks like I should visit this event next year. Aloha.

Huntington Beach RACES and the Disaster Preparedness Expo September 21, 2013   Leave a comment

Six active Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service – RACES – members were on-hand to meet and greet visitors to the Disaster Preparedness Expo on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at the Huntington Beach Central Library.

The RACES volunteers explained what the RACES group is and what we do for the City of Huntington Beach. Joe Tom, KB6JOE, brought his portable radio system, shown in some of the pictures. Wayne Yoshida, KH6WZ and Public Information Officer (PIO) for the RACES team, brought an Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) beacon, which transmitted the demonstration station location. A screen capture of the map can be seen below. The Expo location is indicated by the eye icon and the KH6WZ-5 callsign. The APRS message also points to the HB RACES website,

kh6wz hb races emergency expo 9-21-2013

Screen capture of the APRS beacon information. The Disaster Preparedness Expo location is indicated by the callsign KH6WZ-5 as well as the eye icon.

The Disaster Preparedness Expo is an annual, free event where the City’s emergency services organizations educate the public about emergency preparedness and the possible disasters that can happen to the city of Huntington Beach, such as earthquakes and tsunamis. The Expo is also a demonstration and recruiting tool for emergency preparedness volunteer groups in the city.

Additional information about the event can be found on the Huntington Beach Events website.

HB RACES volunteers at the Emergency Expo

Ray Coulon WA6CTS

Mike Fitzgerald KE6WUO

Gary Labb KM6VC

Joe Tom KB6JOE

Jeff Turlis KE6BNS

Wayne Yoshida KH6WZ

Other Groups at the Expo

American Red Cross


HB Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)

HB Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES)

Huntington Beach Fire Department Urban Search & Rescue (USAR)

Huntington Beach Police Department

National Weather Service

Ready OC

Huntington Beach cable TV channel 3  was at the event, and shot plenty of video of the demonstrations and displays. Several of the event volunteers were interviewed and may appear on TV soon.

Here are some pictures of the event. . . .

Fed by Agility Fuel Systems: $107 Million Worth of MCI CNG Commuter Coach Buses   Leave a comment

No, not the long distance phone company. MCI is Motor Coach Industries in Schaumburg, IL USA.

MCI recently won an order for 84 of their CNG buses ($107.4 million) from New Jersey Transit.

Take a look at the beautiful buses made by MCI, powered by clean-burning compressed natural gas fed via Agility Fuel Systems.

More CNG news is posted at NGV Today, go to to subscribe.