What is DMR Radio? Is it the new “HF”?

I’ve been a licensed amateur radio operator for some time now.  My original license was a Technician License granted under KC2MLT.  Around 2013 I updated to a General License with a vanity call, KD2KEV.

I usually “worked” the 2 meter band but discovered my handheld could “hit” many more repeaters on 70cm (440 band).  Recently, I was listening to two other stations going back and forth about “packet radio”, a concept I still haven’t gotten yet, and then one of the guys said, “I have to look into DMR”.

Now, that’s a phrase I’m familiar with because most of the law enforcement agencies in our country have switched over to digital trunking with Motorola products.  DMR is quite similar as it uses handheld radios that link to repeaters on a particular frequency.  Then, you monitor certain “talk groups” within that repeaters range.  The talk groups for first responders are usually assigned by venue (city) then department (police department, fire department, parks and recreation) and then precinct or firehouse, or park location, and then there can be specialist talk groups for car to car, detectives, fire Marshalls, park supervisors, etc.  DMR on the amateur side is similar in that talk groups can be assigned to particular Ham Clubs, cities, specialist groups (think Facebook Pages) like Phoenix Trail Riders or Thunderbird Radio Club.

Well, after an initial investment based on a warranty when one of my radios went kurplunk, I received an AnyTone 878 Bluetooth with GPS.  Various internet sources claim this radio is the bomb.  So far, I’ve gotten compliments on the purchase from many other stations.  HOWEVER, I hadn’t made one single digital contact.  It seems I could barely reach the local repeater on a place called White Tanks Mountain on the far west side of the Phoenix Valley (actually located in Waddell, Arizona and part of the Maricopa County Parks System).  Frustrated beyond believe, I hit the internet again and discovered my issue could easily be resolved with a Hot Spot.  A hot what?   A hot spot is a tiny piece of engineering miracle that allows you to connect to other Talk Groups via the internet but by using your radio.  So, think of your hot spot as a little router connected to your home’s router, connected to a modem, connected to the internet, connected to a particular DMR Master (I use Brandmeister) that houses connection ports FOR THE WORLD.

AND, get this, you can connect it / tether it to your cell phone and use it in the car or any other place that doesn’t have internet (but a cell tower needs to be in the area).

So, essentially, my little DMR handheld became an old fashioned HF radio that could circle the world without the need to wait for certain sun spots, propagation, time of the day, and antenna availability.

Did HF become a dying skill much like morse code?

REPUBLICANS SET THE STAGE FOR THE FUTURE IN AMERICAN POLITICS (Be Careful for What You Wish For)

Everyday, the GOP takes positions that are so detrimental to the future of how we are governed.  Let’s start off with the “be careful what you wish for” item.  Just a few weeks ago the GOP was screaming about the closed door testimony being secured regarding the Ukraingate.  Odd, considering they had their watchdogs in there and were reporting on it daily with their spin.  The main complaint was the hearings should be made public and the proceedings should be voted upon by Congress.

So, Congress sets the vote and all the Republicans vote against it.  No surprise there.  However, the hearings then went public.

What occurred after was a perfect example of the hypocrisy of the current GOP members.  Once the extremely damning testimony started getting out, in real time, live and right from the lips of the people testifying, the GOP went crazy and had the gall to say, “These hearings should not be in front of the public”.  Oh no, why not.  Is it that you don’t want the American public and the rest of world to see that this whole mess was the result of Trump, once again, trying to use the White House to further his own personal, business, and political interests?

Now, for the future.  Let’s consider some of the things a future Democratic administration can do – well, they can obstruct justice, they can ignore Congressional subpoenas, they can use the Justice Department as their own vendetta machine, they can lie, everyday, about their crooked leader and do so with a Nazi-like crazed devotion, they can attack members of the military, diplomatic services, and intelligence services.  They can cozy up to socialist ideals and policies.  They can try to have GOP rivals investigated, harassed, and slandered.

Certainly, the list is not complete.

The Republican Party – Giving New Meaning to Get Ready because What Goes Around, Comes Around.

A Brighton Beach – Screw You

Devin Nunes called it, “Act I” and “Act II” and referred to it as a circus.  No, it wasn’t a circus.  It was one of the most shameful, disgusting, and self-embarrassing acts from fellow Americans.

Then again, I wonder, perhaps they are the deep state.  Perhaps they are the Russian operatives working in our government.  Ron Johnson, Douglas Collins, and the absolute worst, Jim Jordan.  Then you have Stephen Castor who tried to show that Vindman was offered a job by the Ukrainians suggesting he might be a Ukrainian operative.  At the time, Vindman quickly shut down that conversation and reported the job offer incident immediately.

The Republicans sat there for hours trying to intimidate Lt. Col. Vindman.  Vindman, who fought in Falluja in 2004, had the enemy shooting at him every day and was wounded there by an IED, didn’t seem fazed.  He was probably sitting there thinking, “Someone put a bomb underneath me in 2004.  I had the enemy trying to kill me everyday.  Do you fucking coward traitors think you scare me?”

So, How’s That Tax Break Working Out For You? #GOPTaxScam

Last year everyone was so flustered, excited, taken back, so in love with the 2017 Trump Tax Break for the “middle class”.  (Really????  3% is all it takes to get you excited?????). I quickly criticized it for what is blatantly was, a tax cut for the mega rich that was to be paid for by the middle class.  I further pointed out the great tax break you were getting would slowly disappear after 5 years.  Well, I’ll be the first to admit it when I’m wrong.  You see it won’t disappear after 5 years.  IT DISAPPEARED THIS YEAR.  Essentially, you were tricked by a scam artist whose only interest is in himself and his mega rich family and friends.  Already, millions are taking to social media blaming Trump and the GOP.  Most use the GOPTaxScam hash tag.  You got screwed in that you didn’t realize a tax cut has nothing to do with your tax liability on your return.  In fact, your LIABILITY WENT UP !!!

That’s right, already hundreds millions of middle class tax payers OWE MORE THIS YEAR (or, in some cases, are getting significantly less back). The IRS is reporting for 2019 the average tax refund check is down 8 percent ($170) this year versus last.  The number of people receiving a refund has dropped by 25%!!!!!  How can that be????  You were supposed to get a break in the taxes applied to your pay check and you were supposed to get a higher standard deduction on your actual tax return calculations.

The most significant changes to the U.S. tax code in decades created lower tax brackets and higher standard deductions.  However, it took away personal exemptions and limited the amount middle class taxpayers could deduct for real estate taxes and state and local taxes.  More or less a break even calculation.  Essentially, you got screwed.

Here are the 9 most popular deductions you can no longer take (that is, you got screwed).

  • Personal exemptions.
  • Home equity interest
  • Moving expenses
  • Job expenses
  • Tax preparation fees
  • IRA account fees – wow, if you ever got screwed, it’s on this one!!
  • Parking and transit reimbursements
  • Casualty and Theft losses
  • Certain college donations

So, let’s review.

  1. If your standard deduction went up, great.   But, if you then lost one of your write offs (this year you can no longer write off a home office if you work for someone else, and next year you can no longer write off medical expenses) then, you essentially got screwed.
  2. If your pay check was a little higher (the average is $24) because less taxes were taken out, then great.  However, the combination of larger paychecks and smaller deductions are leaving some middle class taxpayers that usually get a refund owing hundreds — even thousands — of dollars on April 15, 2019.  If you were then told “you forgot to file a new W4 and have additional amounts taken out”, then, you essentially got screwed.
  3. The Government Accounting Office is reporting 4.6 MILLION fewer people will receive a refund.  That means 4.6 million people GOT SCREWED.

A Blast From The Past

Picture a group of teenagers. Any where. At the mall, at the coffee store, at the movies….. they all have their heads buried in their phones. Texting, posting to Instagram, checking status on Twitter.

“1984”, a book by George Orwell, was written in 1949. NINETEEN FORTY NINE!! 1949!!!!!

And I quote, “The people will not revolt. They will not look up from their screens long enough to notice what’s happening”.