Quick video of the Massey Ferguson GC 1720 TLB Sub Compact Tractor.
Gravel, Winter GC-1720
About 12 years ago I constructed a 285 foot gravel drive down to my shop with a Massey Ferguson 1250. It was smooth enough to get cars, trucks, and trailers down with ease. Over the years I maintained it by keeping the crown cut and compaction of the travel lanes broken up. Last year the erosion of the left track outran my maintenance and it became a 4x4 only drive. I recently aquired a GC-1720 Sub-Compact Tractor to fix an maintain the property.
The first step in the revitalization of the drive way was to use a 5 foot rotary cutter to remove all the growth next to the driveway. That also required some some backhoe work to remove some of the larger root systems of bushes and trees.
I used a 4 ft box blade at a forward angle making 2-3 trips over the same area to break up the existing gravel. This process filled many of the pot holes and some of the left track. Areas that had not been washed out, the road-bond (Gravel / Fines) looked fresh with the vegetation removed.
With a box-blade, it just requires patience to get the ground broken up especially with a sub compact tractor. I was using a new Massey Ferguson GC-1720 TLB. Lesson's learned on the GC-1720 TLB below:
- 4 Ft Box Blade is the Max.
- 5 Ft Scraper Blade is ideal.
- 4 Ft Rotary Blade is ideal.
- Backhoe Float takes getting used to but it does wonders for flat ditches/trenches and for leveling fill. I really like it.
- No 3 Pt position control. This hasn't been an issue per say but took a day or so of getting used to. The 3 points works like a normal hydro spool. There is a down valve to help with controlling flow on downward action of the 3 point.
- The seat transition is hit or miss. Sometimes it does exactly what you intend and other times its a downright PIA.
- Fuel consumption is great. About 6 gallons for two days work.
- Backhoe removal is less than 10 minutes. Surprisingly easy and fast. Just watch where you put the hydro lines.
- PTO shaft has a plastic cover with 13MM (1/2") Screws that need to be removed to use the PTO.
Once the ground was un-compacted the box can be leveled and its easy to pull a full box wherever you need it. The GC 1720 doesn't have positional control but does have control of the lower speed. You just have to be careful with bringing the blade back up as it is always full speed.
I did ditch cutting by putting the box blade at a sharp angle and "driving the ditch". After cutting ditch areas down I used the front end loader to move excess to the center and eroded areas to "level" it up. I made a few finish passes with the box at slight angle to crown the surface.
I plan on putting down an additional 4" of road bond during the spring time.
Video of horizontal milling in a Grizzly G3617 mill.
I picked up a "almost" complete lot of machining tooling for a set of lathes. One item that was missing was a clamp for the tapping head. I reasoned out a quick idea of how it worked and what was missing and did a quick sketch in Fusion and produced a quick part without the outer filet. I also drilled the corners so I wouldn't need to broach the corners. Saying still holds, if you can't find it, make it.
Sometimes I get something I really like and discover a big flaw in it's design. In the following case, my nice shiney new riding mower deck shaft had just given way again. I believe this was the third failure.
The pot metal frame and weak steel direct shaft was a problem and after spending several hundred dollars over the past few years I decided to do something about it. Off to the big shop. After some quick layout in Fusion 360 and a quick 3d print of the housing for test fit, I started work on the shaft while the mill was cutting the housing. I've gotten 2 complete mowings now before fall and it works great. I was pressed for time on this but I did manage to snap a few photos of the new shaft and threading.
I also had to slightly modify a new tool holder I purchased as the ways were too tight for my liking so that took a bit of time to finish up. Now I have a nice shiney new dedicated HSS cut off holder and a mower that won't fail me.
BFDX TD-503 DMR RADIO
I've been using the BFDX TD-503 for several months on the local DMR repeater and NCPRN. The main reason I really like it and its found its place above my Mototrbo and Hytera is it the GUI by default shows the Frequency and Channel Name. Controls are standard and easy to use. The case is high quality and it has some heft to it.
It has been left out in the rain, taken on swift-water calls (submerged in the river), dropped, banged, and otherwise abused with no issues whatsoever.
Programming is easy and the cable is inexpensive. The audio quality is better or on par with both my Hytera and Mototrbo's in both analog and digital mode. This radio works great on analog repeaters as well. I've been using this pretty much exclusively for any outdoor adventures (UTV'n, Rafting, Swift-water Rescue, Climbing) without fail, mainly because of its price point and performance. At $250 brand new its much less expensive than a used Mototurbo or Hytera.
I had some issues with the audio on this so bear with it. Also standard definition only.
Just a quick video of what's next in Ham radio and some projects I've been working on, as well as others, to get there. Some highlights:
- MultiCodec - Codec2, AMBE...
- Remote Standardized Head Unit / Retrofit
- Less PC .. More Embedded
- More modular
- Easier to use and the possibility of installing station away from Radio.
- DSP development in the hands of more people.
- Older Designs get updates.
- Powerful Tools getting more accessible
- KiCad (New stable, RF Traces (Curved), Diff Pair Routing (USB, etc))
- Inexpensive STM32 and other DSP platforms
- Filter Creation and Simulation
An open source codec for compression is up and going (CODEC2).
AMBE is much easier to implement and get ahold of.
Remote heads are beginning to pop up commercially in the FlexRadio line.
More embedded projects/products including SM1000, FlexRadio head unit, and many many DStar node adaptors.
DMR radios have hit the market to warm up the digital voice market, many which are under $300 new.
ICOM IC-208H Background
Looking for something to play with I was the lucky bidder on a non-working IC-208H ICOM Dual Bander radio on Ebay. It looked ok but was listed as non-working. They also disclosed it would not power all. All of these things were correct. A more accurate description would have been "Used on the show Deadliest Catch but the boat sank to the bottom. Recovered 2 months later".
I'm guessing it was installed on a boat and wouldn't surprise me if said boat was at the bottom when this radio was removed. The head unit was in great shape so not a complete loss.
Since there was severe damage from the apparent reverse hookup and water damage it wasn't something I could or would repair. I did end up with some spare parts, a good IC-208H head, new power cord, and a working Mic.
The mic connector was completely trashed with green tented heavy corrosion. Inside both side of the board had been exposed to water and dirt. Even without the badly damaged PCB craters it was deemed a lost cause as soon as I opened the case. Stay tuned for a teardown of the IC-208H head unit as this appears to be in great shape and I want to see if and how it ticks before parting with it.
ICOM IC-208H Teardown Video
Teardown video of a beaten down ICOM IC-208H. I'd really like to know what this radio has seen.
What in the heck is in these?
I've alway wondered what was inside these. I'll never find out because of the weatherproofing epoxy. The face LCD cover is milled and it hints of low volume production. These are used to control the flow of water to a horizontal direction drill (HDD). This Vermeer unit fits many different models of their drills. This one was programmed for a 24x33 Vermeer.