Flammable cargo was prohibited under the Washington State Convention Center on I-5 last weekend according to the large Smarter Highways signs along SR-520 in Washington, as there’s some sort of maintenance happening. There’s a highway advisory radio station on 530 AM and I tried to tune in to see what it had to say about it.
As it turns out, the station was completely unintelligible due to bad interference. I could just barely make out the fact it was a highway message, but not the contents, in my car radio. With my GE F-135 radio, I couldn’t pick up either so it was time to break out the big guns, my Hallicrafters 8R40 attached to an 85′ helical antenna and managed to bring it in quite clearly.
The station beat very closely with 530AM in my receiver making a very obvious beat note, but they identified themselves as a CBC station a couple of times and were playing PRI’s The World. Some digging about where CBC stations are located, and I was able to identify the interfering station as CBK AM 540, a 50 kW clear channel station broadcasting out of Watrous, Saskatchewan - about 1100 miles away!
Clear channel stations running that high power at night can definitely propagate that far – or further, an experimental station in the 1930 was able to cover the entire western hemisphere and was known to take requests from as far away as Buckingham Palace. There’s nothing that can be done in this case as the interference is coming from a licensed user in another country and happened due to natural atmospheric conditions. I guess the right thing to do is just hope there’s no important traffic information being broadcast during the nighttime DX window.
CBK-AM is the furthest distance AM broadcast station I’ve yet received. I should probably keep a map of some kind.
A friend has a new business venture I’m really excited about and wanted to share with everyone here. He’s making multipurpose lavender sachets for indoor use in your bedroom, closet, car or anywhere really using California lavender assembled right here in Seattle. I’ve been playing with my sample sachet for a week now and it’s really a great product that I highly recommend. I’m not typically one for intentionally bringing new odors into my living space but the LavenHangers smell great and also aren’t overpowering.
You can leave the LavenHanger lying about, put it in a drawer, or slip it over the loop of a hanger to hang with your clothes in the closet. Lavender is a natural insect repellent and repels bed bugs, moths and other pests you wouldn’t want around and it’s all natural so if you’re using it to protect your wardrobe, you don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals like the petroleum naptha in traditional moth balls.
They’re 3 for $20 available over at KalbCo, made in the USA. You should go check it out!
Following up on yesterday’s post, this photo of a sign posted downtown pretty well describes how Seattleites react at the first sign of flakes falling from the sky.
This photo courtesy of my friend Jamie Swedler.
I’m taking a short break from writing about technical projects to share some of the recent interesting weather we’ve had lately. It snows about once a year in Seattle, and every year we’re taken out of commission for a day or two or three in this case. Most times it’s only an inch or less of snow but this time we ended up with closer to 6″ over the span of a couple days followed up by freezing rain and the accompanying downed trees, blocked roads and power loss.
Metro buses started running on chains on Monday in anticipation of a storm that didn’t really arrive until Wednesday, since we saw a tiny dusting over the weekend. This is always interesting and results in a lot of broken chains littering the roads after the snow melts. I’ve been on a bus while a chain came off and it sounds like the bus is about to rip in half, I’d hate to think of what would happen to the next car back’s bumper.
It’s always interesting when Seattle drivers try to get out in the snow. For the most part, nobody has any idea how to drive in it. People don’t use chains, or don’t know how to put chains on properly. Or just go too fast, too steep, and crash and slide into everything like this video taken from someone’s apartment on Capitol Hill. I prefer to stay inside or take the bus.
Some interesting things do happen, though. It’s always entertaining to watch buses be towed by an enormous tow truck like in this video from the Seattle Transit Blog (where they offer a convincing defense of the city’s sometimes confusing snow response) and this one is no exception with the flying electrical sparks.
I went out to investigate and took some low-quality photos of the block around my neighborhood.
In the first set of photos there was about 1″ on the ground; it accumulated throughout the day and the next to be about 6″ total. And that’s probably the one snow storm we’ll have this year, if past are any indication.
All in all it wasn’t too bad, but we did have a bit of alarmist reporting on Tuesday. Pretty much every media outlet including the highway information signs warned of a winter storm on Tuesday, but it arrived a day late. Nearly 90% of my co-worker went home early; across the region that’s a lot of lost productivity and lost wages for people. On the other hand, being stuck out in treacherous conditions in an area chronically unprepared for snow has a definite cost in terms of accidents, delays, and travel disruptions. I wonder what the total economic impact of a bad forecast is, and whether a conservative forecast predicting snow when none arrives has a smaller or greater cost than an optimistic forecast that leaves people stranded.
Spotted while out walking on the second beautiful day of the spring:
Three boxes of half-used antifreeze, various spray cans and lubricants, wood finishing products, car fluids and gasoline additives. I guess whether it’s dumping or a legitimate altruistic gesture depends on if it’s still sitting there tomorrow or not.