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WWKW 2013 – Take Two

Posted by Tom Benedict on 26/03/2013

Ok, I lied. It turns out I will have new gear to try during WWKW 2013. I’m replacing the monitor on my ground radio.

Two things led to this. First, the monitor I have is one of those auto-switching “I go to blue screen when confused” monitors that show up so much on Ebay. It was a great investment at the time because it only cost me $40. But it also means that any noise in the video signal, and it fritzes out. Radio links always have noise in the video signal. This is a fact of life. So… It was constantly fritzing out.

But that wasn’t enough to make it useless. That flight I did over the school garden in town was proof of that. Without the video feedback, I never could’ve done that session. Just enough to be useful, but just unreliable enough for me not to trust it. OOOOOH that’s frustrating!

The second thing that led to this change is that my eyesight is going. As my optometrist put it, I’m already far-sighted. Add in that my eyes are hardening prematurely, and the answer is: I’m screwed.

I’ve been able to ignore this to some degree, but it was really brought home to me yesterday when I had the rare opportunity to play some pool. I haven’t played even semi-seriously since college. But I was appalled by how bad my game was! Every time I scratched, another ball came back out on the table. At one point I realized I’d run out of balls to put back on. GAAAAH!

That’s when I started to look at the problem analytically. I realized I could focus on the target ball if I took my glasses off, but then I couldn’t see the cue ball or my cue. If I put my glasses back on, I could see the cue ball, but not the target. Like I said, I’m screwed.

With KAP my eyesight is rarely an issue. By definition, things are far away: kites are high, cameras are distant, subjects are more than an arm’s reach away. And my glitchy little blue-prone monitor? It’s right at that distance where it’s impossible to see without glasses!

So I splurged and picked up a 7″ monitor. It doesn’t do the blue screen thing, and it has a very solid mount for attaching it to my transmitter. Even better, it has a VESA hole pattern on the back so I can package my video receiver and battery pack into a nice neat enclosure that can bolt to the back of the monitor. It even comes with its own sun shade.

I doubt I’ll have all of this changed over by WWKW 2013. Making custom enclosures is a royal pain, especially if you have to be able to get a battery pack in and out for charging. (No, I don’t charge LiPo batteries without removing them!) But I’ll have something cobbled together enough to test with. That’s good enough for me.

Oh! And the repairs to the Fled? One word: AWESOME! I took it out flying yesterday and got it up in a thermal. Like the song goes, she was climbing the stairway to heaven. I swear I couldn’t stop laughing. I never realized how much I’ve missed that kite.

– Tom


2 Responses to “WWKW 2013 – Take Two”

  1. Ramon said

    Don’t know what batch your Fled was part of, but my Fled and me will never be friends, I’m afraid. As soon as the weather improves I will put it on the net for sale. My replacement kite for that wobbly yobbly creature is the Triton.I don’t want to spend more time on it. Interested?

    Problems with the eyes, eh? Same here. For very nearby stuff (inches away) I need no glasses at all. As a matter of fact it becomes annoying to look over or under the optics. Whatever… I need them for stuff farther away, so it’s either that or…

    Tom, what about using your time you have to fly with what you have? Don’t rush with preparing stuff for WWKW. I don’t do that either. I have a week off (going to that funny Island again, up north) and I decided to keep it all simple again.

    Congrats on purchasing the better monitor. We, as HAMs, like to see noise instead of those squelchy types of TFTs. So, good score, Tom!


  2. Tom Benedict said

    I think there was a funky batch (or batches) of Fleds that simply didn’t fly. Mine’s pretty docile. Once it’s up it’s as stationary as a rokkaku. No pumping action, which is what yours suffered from, if I remember right.

    Your Fled is kind of like my G-Kites Dopero. We’re not friends. But Piotr said the culprit is those battened keels, and if I replace them with tunnel keels the way Ralf designed them in the first place it might actually work correctly. Mmmm… Not sure if I’m going to do that or just trade it in toward a bigger rokkaku. 🙂

    About WWKW, I probably will be flying what I’ve got. I just have a pattern of trying something new each year. The first one, I flew the 4×5 box camera. The next one, I think I had the Fled. Next after that was… oh yeah… that was pneumonia. Could’ve done without that…

    For me it’s more about having fun than having to push the edge or prove something during WWKW. Playing with new gear is fun, even if the end result is that it didn’t work. But yeah, I’m going to spend most of my time flying what I’ve got.

    Honestly this year’s “new” thing is to do KAP somewhere other than Hapuna Beach. It seems like in the last year, that’s the only place I’ve flown. No matter what I do or where I fly (aside from Hapuna) it’ll be new. Can’t beat that!

    Yeah, I’m looking forward to the squelchy monitor. If nothing else, maybe this will give me a better clue about what KIND of noise I’m getting. It’s like the difference between having a warning light in your car, or an actual gauge to tell you what’s really going on. Gimme the gauge!

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