Entries from January 2010 ↓


I recently ordered a Brother MFC 8120 laser printer from the Geeks. This printer is refurbished. I guess that means it stopped working under warranty the first time it was sold. The price was right, only $55. It costs me that much for a new 52 ink cartridge for the inkjet!

Of course I also had to pay $35 to get it delivered. I also found a couple of cheap flash lights an a 1gig memory stick for one of my older computers. The final order came to $102.

The brother printer also works as a copier, scanner, and fax. The starter toner cartridge gets 4,000 pages, its drum has a 20,000 page life. New high capacity toner cartridges are priced at around $40 and get 6,500 pages.

Unfortunately, one of the few reviews gives this printer an 8 month life. That review did not say how many pages the printer had printed but seemed to imply that they had gone through several toner cartridges.

The way I see this is that the brother printer is going to save me more than $500 in ink jet ink for an investment of around $100.

At a price of $54 for the printer it would almost be worth buying a new one when the toner runs out. The only thing preventing me doing that is the $35 shipping charge. That is pretty close to the price of a toner cartridge.

I think the Geeks are basically good but you would never guess that from some of the scams their third party buddies pull.

After the order was entered I was informed it qualified for free shipping. I checked with all the common carriers some time ago and they assured me they did not work for free. Turns out you can get free shipping if you sign up for some useless service that tries to rob you.

I also got a spam e-mail from some moron wanting me to send them $10 for a service warranty on the refurbished printer.

The Geeks would do well to distance themselves from these scammers. It makes them look bad.

Computer acting up

I use one small system running XP to support the magic jack telephone. This afternoon its speaker was making a funny sound. I rebooted the computer to see if that would solve the problem. That was when things really went wrong. The built-in computer speaker began to squawk.

Turns out the a microphone cord was pushed under the area where the keyboard rests in hiding. The cord was holding one of the keyboard keys down making the computer complain.

The cord was moved and the computer is now working just fine. No more anoying noise.


After very carefully tuning both the vertically polarized four element moxon and the horizontally polarized seven element broadband beam, I installed them onto the stub mast and mounted them on the main mast through the thrust bearing and into the rotator.

The mast was cranked back up to full height and the antennas were tested. I was more than a little dissapointed in that they both showed fairly high swr.

I learned a long time ago that when things don’t work out like expected its time to relax and sleep on it.

A couple of days after the initial test I took another look at the setup in the shack. I had built an antenna switching system so that I could use one run of RG8 for either the vertical or the horizontal antenna. I was only intending to use one or the other at any given time so a switching system seemed ideal.

As I investigated the hookup I found that the SWR meter was in the antenna side of the switching system. This meant that the power running the switching system was being run through the SWR meter. I relocated the SWR meter to be in line in the section running from the 2 meter rig to the antenna switch. The SWR on both antennas is now as should be.