Friday, November 2, 2012


     The next step up from a 28" mini-penny?  For me, a 36" hiwheel designed -- and then redesigned* -- by unicycle maker QU-AX (shown here with an eye-glowing window spectator, in an image that does nothing for my vanity):
     Riding in the dark, with a multi-led flashlight clipped to my inner sweatshirt -- it's chilly, I'm wearing an insulated hoodie over a plain hoodie over a knit top.
     Whee!  (I'm hoping to ride this bike in daylight sometime-- I just missed a Tweed Ride.  And me without my jodhpurs!)
     The larger wheel means better speed -- and less effort.  For the well-to-do ($$$$!) and technically-inclined, here's a possible upgrade: a hub with a 1.5:1 transmission!  I'm pretty sure a 36" wheel that acts like a 54" wheel is not in my immediate future.  Come to think of it, neither (I hope) is a respoking job.  But maybe someday.
* Seriously redesigned: much shorter stem, tricky front brake removed, seat hugely improved (and retroized) and matching grips added.  At least everything but the grips is a safety improvement and they all materially aid rideability.  QU-AX really did right by this product -- and the people who buy it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


     In the far-off past when radio was nearly all Morse code (what's that Fessenden fellow on about?), everybody keyed fairly high currents in the primary side of big transmitters, especially spark rigs.  Commercial stations used big, purpose-built keys or keying relays.  Hams....improvised.
One key, two silver dimes and a nice big soldering copper (or electric soldering iron).  Add amateur ingenuity.
 Real dimes!  (Filed flat.  Honest, Mr. T-man, I didn't do it!)

     This example was found on Etsy.  "Dime keys" are often fakes; this one, the key's an older type, the solder looks like the old-time stuff, the dimes are sure-enough silver and the knob bears an "Aug 3, 1920" patent date; a little late but not too late.  So it's probably the real deal.