KC Ale & ESB

It took the KC Ale a while to start fermenting – I thought there might be something wrong. I had it in the fermenter on Saturday but didn’t start seeing bubbles (i.e. the start of fermentation) in the airlock until Monday. Looks like it is progressing nicely now and I’ll probably rack it to secondary fermentation Friday night.

I sampled one of the ESB bottles tonight. The ESB was cooked on 10 OCT, racked to secondary fermentation on 13 OCT and bottled on 18 OCT. It was pretty good, but I’m probably going to let it sit for another week.

Batch in the bucket

The KC Pale Ale is in the bucket (aka primary fermentation). I want to strain from the cooking pot to the primary fermentation as well as doing some aeration. I hydrated the yeast, but I think the water I used was to hot – we’ll see. Still have not used the hydrometer – I need to figure out how to take a small sample and use the hydrometer. Maybe between primary and secondary fermentation?

It took about 15 minutes to cool the wort down to 70F. I used the kitchen sink and lots of ice.

We will see if the airlock is bubbling tomorrow morning.

Time for another batch


Although I’ve not yet sampled the fruits from my initial Kansas brewing efforts (the ESB batch), I’m going to get another batch going. Each batch is 5 gallons, of which I plan to give away a good portion – assuming it is potable. This batch will be Kansas City Pale Ale. I’ve had a taste lately for Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. So I’m attempting to see if I can replicate the Pale Ale goodness here in the basement.

As I prepare for the cooking, there are three things I want to accomplish this time that I failed to do during my last batch:

(1) Actually use the hydrometer.
(2) Filter and aerate the wort prior to fermentation.
(3) Hydrate the yeast prior to pitching.

Next week I’ll do my first taste of the ESB and see how it turned out. This batch of Pale Ale should be ready before Thanksgiving.

Megaphone Diplomacy

We get many interesting guest speakers at the Command & General Staff College (CGSC)… and a few that aren’t so interesting. However, today we had the privileged of hearing the Deputy Supreme Allied Command Europe (aka the 2nd in-command at NATO). General Sir John Chalmers McColl is from the British Army and has served in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. His main point was NATO is not just a military organization, but also (and most importantly) a political organization. Every decision (if made at all) is a compromise. And like all political decisions, the best way to reach a compromise is through face-to-face discussions, rather than through the media. He noted that “Megaphone Diplomacy” was more often than not counterproductive – that it usually ended in the recipient nation’s public opinion turning further against whatever issue was attempting to be pressed.
An example might be how the US has pressed in a public forum that our NATO partners need to send more combat troops to Afghanistan. Attempting to address this issue through the media or other public forums will not, in the end, result in the desired outcome of getting the commitment of more troops. The best way to gain results is to work with each country and take advantage of what resources they’re willing to provide. Overall, public opinion in the other NATO countries is against sending forces to Afghanistan. The US needs to understand this – and also understand it is not something we are going to change.
We’ve had some other great speakers within the last three months: the President of Uganda who gave an excellent talk about how to wage an insurgency, GEN Petraeus, and Dr. P. W. Singer. Dr. Singer is from the Brookings Institute and spoke about the role of the contractor and the military – he was probably the best guest speaker we’ve had. We also had a panel of reporters that included Noah Shachtman from Wired magazine. Noah represented the new media: blogs.

The Columbus Day Surprise


My Dell Mini arrived! I’m using it for this entry. I like it so far, but there are draw backs. The keyboard is tiny. Performance is a bit slugish, but it plays video without issue. I’ve been able to configure it to access my network drives, that went fairly well (… once I remembered the Linux commands).

It is small! And light weight. So far the battery is doing well. The screen is sharp and the speakers are pretty loud when you crank them up. There’s an SD card reader on the side. I also opted for the webcam, which seems to work nicely.

Now I need to stop procrastinating and write my history paper that’s due tomorrow. :-)

TS-930S – no display and on the bench


I’ve got no frequency display on my TS-930S! I’ve had this problem since I arrived in Kansas (note to self: I need to pack in rig myself next move). From what I can tell, the display is probably not broken but the PLL needs to be adjusted. The problem – how do I adjust the PLL? I’ve been unable to find the service manual and I’m hoping I can find someone who has the knowledge of how to do this. I’ve popped the top, but I’m not seeing anything that looks like I should be adjusting. While I don’t need this rig to operate (I have my Icom IC-7000), I really like this this Kenwood rig. It has a wonderful sound and great sensitivity. I hope I can bring it back to life.

Travels With Barley

travels_with_barley

I started reading this book, by Ken Wells, on my Kindle. Great read that covers the history of beer – which I knew started in Iraq but ironically you are not allowed to drink it there now. The story follows beer to America, the development of the brewery system, the ascendancy of the big breweries, and the explosion of microbrews. The backdrop for the story is Ken Wells journey along the Mississippi River, from north to south, in his attempt to locate cool beer joints.

Wells even mentions the first recognized microbrew in the US – Bert Grant’s place in Yakima, Washington. I’ve been there and was a big fan of Bert’s brew. I think it is closed now and been replaced by the Yakima Craft Brewing Co. Grant’s was a great pub with wonderful brew. Although my favorite Washington microbrew is the Ram Big Horn Brewing Company.

I’m really enjoying Ken’s roadtrip but it’s making me thirsty.

Contesting… the thrill of victory!

I posted this picture last year – but as we are in the midst of football (and contest) season again, I thought it would do some good to post it again.

From the ASU website:


(Seated: KC7MOD and KD7LGH. Background: Six members of the Sun Devil Dance Team.)

While gathering before the upcoming football game, a group of ladies from the ASU Sun Devil Dance Team stopped by to watch W7ASU operate in the 2004 Collegiate QSO Party. No doubt impressed by our smooth (contest) operating techniques, we expect these ladies will be licensed in the near future. We just can’t wait until they join our club!

…. ..- -… -… .- …. ..- -… -… .-

note the expression on the face of KD7LGH – you can tell he is enjoying the contest!

Fabulous Friday

We had an offsite for class this morning at the Santa Fe Station in downtown Leavenworth, KS. Great breakfast and great discussion.

I’ve got the wort in the bucket, should be done with primary fermentation in a day or two. This was the first time I had a hydrometer and I need to figure out how to use it. I’ve got to get a good bottle count. I have about a dozen with the rubber seal and stopper. I think I may need to get new rubber seals.

I have to decide if I want to do a secondary fermentation with the carboy.

I turned on the HF rig briefly and heard stateside stations talking with a station on Guantanamo. Then I heard a familiar voice, K4STW, Stew in Virginia Beach. Stew probably doesn’t remember me, but we chatted now and again on the 2M repeaters in Hampton Roads. It was great to hear his voice.

I got Ubuntu working with my Linksys print server. This will make my life much easier.

Looks like we’ll have good weather this weekend.

Another day in the shade

I hooked up my Morse key to my Icom IC-7000 and it appears to be working fine. Also hooked up an external speaker which is working nicely. I tried to connect my SM-20 microphone but realize now that a need a connector that I don’t have. I don’t want to hook up my Heil headset with the boom mike just yet. I was able to have a QSO with an Italian station and again with TI8II (Costa Rica), except on 20M this time.

More stuff I’m going to get done tomorrow:
- gather up my old (digital) logs
- back up my current Kansas log
- load up my YI9MI logs and prepare and organize the remaining received QSL cards
- order the adapter for the SM-20 mic
- find my weather station software
- have a CW QSO

I’m prepping to start a batch of homebrew beer. Tomorrow I’m going to start the process. Maybe have some fresh beer by Halloween?