Sunday, August 28, 2016

Further Seasoning of the Bromwell Frying Pan

I cooked breakfast in my Bromwell this morning. The bacon didn't stick but my eggs did. So, this afternoon I seasoned it more with flax seed oil (food grade linseed oil). I gave it a very light coat and heated it on the stove until it smoked, then let it cool down. Repeated this for a total of about 5 or 6 coats until I got tired of doing it.

The pan should only get better with use.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Bromwell 7" Pressed Steel Frying Pan

Something I'd been looking for was a lightweight, pressed steel frying pan to take camping. After reading a thread on Bushcraft USA with a link to eBay, I ordered a 7" Bromwell pan last Sunday. It arrived on Wednesday for $16.95 shipped. Note that 7" is the diameter across the top, not the base. The seller also lists some 6" Bromwell pans but that's a bit on the small side for my taste.

The pan is plain pressed carbon steel with a handle similar to the old "Cold Handle" type that you can frequently find a garage sales. Whatever rust preventative Bromwell used worked well but required a lot of scrubbing and soaking to remove.

I seasoned it today by first giving it a coat of canola oil then cooking up some bacon for lunch.

Mmmm. Bacon.

It'll need more seasoning, which of course gives me an excuse to cook more bacon.

This was my first time using a skillet with this kind of handle. It stayed cooler than I'd expected but I still used a pot holder. A bandana or shemagh would work in the field.

The small size allowed a lot of splatter outside onto my stove. The next time I use it I might do so outside, perhaps over my Emberlit stove.

It's a heck of a lot lighter than a same-sized cast iron pan would be. It's definitely back-packable.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Digital QRP with a Mac and SignaLink USB

Operating QRP PSK31 using a Mac, Fldigi, and a SignaLink USB interface. In the video I provide details on my antenna, physical connections between the radio and rig, and about configuring Fldigi.

More info on the antenna can be found in this older post.

Tap-O-Cap Reborn

It looks like the same folks who came out a couple years ago with a .22LR reloading tool set have introduced a tool to make #11 caps.

Thought I'd pass this along since every so often somebody brings up the old Tap-O-Cap. I have no connection with the company.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

WSPR on a Mac

I did some WSPR work out back today using my MacBook Pro, WSJT-X, Yaesu FT-817ND, SignalinkUSB, and my 20M vertical antenna.

Hopefully you find this useful.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Adding Capacity to a Hill People Gear Tarahumara Pack

The Tarahumara pack from Hill People Gear is a great daypack but some folks find it a little small. On my last outing, I needed to add a bit of capacity, so I strapped a MOLLE II Sustainment Pouch to the compression straps, to add ~430 cubic inches of carrying capacity.

This worked well for me but if you need a more secure solution, the MOLLE II Waist Pack is better because it will actually clip on, but is slightly smaller at 390 cubic inches.

Another option would be to attach the waist pack to the bottom of the Tara, with the paracord I used to strap my poncho to the bottom.  This would allow you to use the waist pack's belt. You could then also attach the sustainment pouch to the back of the Tara for even more capacity.

My waist pack is in Multicam and was made by Propper; it's brand new. They can also be found in woodland, UCP, and desert camo patterns. I've been using a woodland one to hold a poncho liner thantI keep in the back of my truck. It fits the woobie perfectly.

Credit for this idea belongs to "Creaky Bones" at BCUSA. After taking the two pictures above and going back to Creaky's post, I noticed that he has his MOLLE II waist pack attached with the zipper towards the Tara, rather than on the outside. It might flop around less during strenuous activity if you do it his way, but on the other hand, you'd need to unclip it to access anything inside.

You may notice in today's pictures that instead of the bicycle water bottles in the wand pockets, I have Nalgene Oasis canteens, which are the same size and shape as USGI 1 quart canteens. They hold a bit more (32 oz. vs. 25 oz. for the bike bottles) and don't take up as much room inside the pack as the round bottles do. HPG specifically designed the wand pockets to accept the Nalgene Oasis and either these, or USGI canteens, are probably the best way to carry water in them. With two of these and two bike water bottles on the shoulder strap shock cords, you can carry almost 1 gallon of water with the Tarahumara pack.

Adding an additional pouch or two to the Tara potentially allows you to do an ultralight, warm weather overnighter, rather than relegating it to strictly daypack duty.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

How to Remove the Cylinder and Side Plate from a Smith & Wesson Double Action Revolver

In this video I demonstrate how to properly remove the cylinder and side plate from a S&W revolver, including a discussion of the tools required. Using the proper technique when removing the side plate will prevent damage to the gun and preserve its value.

The demonstration piece is a S&W Model 10-5 chambered for the .38 Special cartridge.

The Weaver Deluxe Gunsmith Tool Kit I used in the video can be seen and purchased here.

Day Camp and Gear Discussion Video

On Friday I took a day trip up to the Conrad Weiser State Forest near Port Clinton, PA. In the video I demonstrate making a poncho lean-to shelter, discuss knife selection, provide a brief overview of the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag and Tarahumara pack, and make some coffee in an Esbit cookset.

I am trying to make and post more videos to my YouTube channel as I have time. Please hit the Like button and subscribe.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Day Trip to Conrad Weiser

I took today off for a dentist appointment this morning, then a day trip to the Port Clinton Tract of the Conrad Weiser State Forest in the afternoon. I had a few goals on today's trip, the first of which was to locate the campsite where I did an aborted overnighter back in January, and locate a spot close to it on a trail. I succeeded in both, and marked the trail spot on both my phone in Spyglass and in my Garmin GPS.

The second goal was to practice putting up a shelter, which I did in the form of a poncho hooch.

I used my trekking poles in combination with a USGI-style poncho, a couple bungie cords, and some orange utility cord to build the lean-to. If I'd used a more subdued cord, it would have been very stealthy in these woods.

My next goal was to try out the Esbit cookset seen sitting in front of the hooch in the first picture. I bought it a few months ago but this was the first time I got a chance to try it. I like it. It's well made and lightweight. I used it with the included Trangia-style alcohol burner, using denatured alcohol from Lowe's. It can also be used with Esbit hexamine fuel tablets. Today I used it to boil water for coffee.

The final goal was to shoot some video with the Panasonic HC-W580K video camera I got in May. It, too can be seen sitting in the top picture, aimed at the Esbit set. I took over an hour of video which I need to edit down, but it looks good on my Mac.

Between the Esbit cookset and the video camera, I needed a bit more space than my Hill People Gear Tarahumara daypack had available. So, I attached a USGI surplus MOLLE sustainment pouch to the Tara's compression straps. This worked out fine.

Once I get the video edited and uploaded to YouTube, I'll post a link.

Edit 8/7/16: The video is up here.