Essential Galveston Island Frequencies.

Most ham radio operators on Galveston Island have a long list of frequencies programmed into their radios. We do have some available repeaters that aren’t well documented and others that aren’t available anymore.  I put together a list of available frequencies that should be useful here on Galveston Island. I’ve had visitors ask what repeaters are available on the Island

This is a list of frequencies that not only are useful for normal communications but in an emergency situation.  Most residents on the Island have a much longer list, but I have excluded most repeaters that aren’t within the county, or particularly strong.  Two exceptions are the listed Fusion repeaters, One is in Friendswood, and the other in Baytown. These should be able to be reached with a full-powered mobile. I have not included any DMR or DSTAR repeaters, simply because I don’t have a radio that works with them. I will be happy to make those additions if you let me know as well as any other repeaters and frequencies that should be added. Please let me know of any suggested additions, deletions or modifications,

This link of Essential Freqencies will be a  printable PDF that may be useful.

Liberty KF5IZN

Galveston Essential Frequencies

Name Recieve
Offset Tone NOTES
TARS VHF 147.740 Plus 167.9 Tidelands Amateur Radio Club
Marathon Texas City
Net Tuesday 20:00 Hours
TARS UHF 442.025 Plus 103.5 TARS
Marathon Texas City
Low usage.
145.530 Simplex NONE Galveston County Emergency
Communications Group
Designated Simplex channel
GCECG 2M 145.410 Minus 131.8 Galveston County Emergency
Communications Group
League City
GCECG 70cm 442.225 Minus 131.8 Galveston County Emergency
Communications Group
League City
2 Meter
Call Freq.
146.520 Simplex None Ham Radios version of CB
Call Frequency
446.000 Simplex None Under utilized Frequency.
WB5MB 146.680 Minus 103.5 UTMB in Galveston
Very underutilized. Good Reach
MoodyVHF 147.300 Plus 123.0 Moody Hotel
Galveston Radio Information Net
Wednesday 20:00
Mid Island Repeater.
Moody UHF 442.150 Plus 123.0 Moody Hotel
Mid Island Repeater.
N5FOG VHF 146.880 Minus 103.5 Galveston Island
World System Link.
N5FOG UHF 443.275 Plus 103.5 Galveston Island
Linked World Wide
Alaska Morning Net 12:00
520 Group. 145.520 Simplex None Popular Simplex Chat Group.
LaMarque Rpt 146.900 Minus 123.0 LaMarque Police Dept.
NE5TX 444.975 Plus 100.0 Yaesu System Fusion
Texas Patriot Room
KD5GR 147.120 Plus 167.9 Yaesu System Fusion
Charles Cotton


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Going Forth Local Number Breakdown – May 12th

As we go forth, to get a little sunshine, fresh air, and a change of scenery.  During the week we will head towards the beach or shoreline.  Shopping is done early in the morning.  A lot of people aren’t wearing masks and the beaches are busy on the weekends.  This weekend is supposed to be a bit stormy. Maybe this will keep down the crowds.

I reran the numbers from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to get a more recent visual on how the Wuflu is processing. The charts are all from Data collected up until May 12th.


May 12th Data

This is a chart of accumulated cases in Texas  There seems to be an increase in the trend. Cities like San Antonio and Dallas/Fort worth seem to be driving the upward numbers.  There has been an increase in the amount of testing throughout the state.

Harris County

The Harris County (Houston) numbers reflect a different trend.

Harris County New Cases

The chart seems to indicate a leveling off, and perhaps a downward trend. It should be noted that Houston is the fourth largest Metroplex in America.  Much of it is spread out and there is limited public transportation.

Galveston County

Galveston County with a population of  342,000 seems to be doing a little better.

Galveston County Daily Cases

This chart indicates that we in Galveston aren’t doing too bad. It’s worth noting that Galveston has a lot of people employed in the healthcare industry.  So far there have been 691 cases in the County of which 197 cases were in senior care facilities.  UTMB medical facility employs 3,000 people has had 60 cases, most of whom had been identified early in the pandemic.  Galveston Island itself which includes Jamaica Beach has had a total of 54 confirmed cases.

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Riding Out COVID-19 In Galveston

Although I haven’t heard of any official pronouncements. I think the pandemic has crested here in the state of Texas and in Galveston County.  Although testing has increased, the reported cases are headed in a downward direction at least for now. The Downward trend is consistent for Texas,  Galveston County and larger neighboring Harris County(Houston)

The following charts track the reported days 1-45 which correspond to March 4th to April 19th. The data is pulled from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)

New Cases in Texas

There have been a total of of 18923  cases in Texas. With a population of 30,541,978.   0.06% of the population have been reported infected,

The following chart is of Harris County,   A much larger county that will have a direct effect on the smaller and neighboring Galveston.  As Harris Counties numbers go up or down we can expect Galveston’s number to reflect the changes.

Harris County daily new cases.

There have been a total of 4653 cases  with a population of 4,885,616. 0.10% of the population have been reported infected,

The next chart is of Galveston County.

Daily Cases in Galveston

There have been a total of 450 cases within a population of 335,006. 0.13% of the population have been reported infected,

Because the numbers are lower the chart numbers will be a little choppier.

It’s a little early to be sure, but I believe the numbers are showing a decline in the number of cases.  We have accelerated the testing program, so we are catching more cases than we were earlier.  So the decay may be actually more dramatic than is shown here.

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Essential Free Stuff

Every once in a while I recommend a list of utilities and programs I find useful.  I don’t like paying for software so most of the stuff listed is gnu open source or free.

Operating Systems

Most of us don’t install operating systems, They come with the computers that we purchase and seldom change. Basically, we have three different flavors available to us.

  • Linux
  • Apple OSX
  • Microsoft Windows.

Operating systems are pretty good these days. Most of us seldom see crashes,  all of them.  Many of us remember the Blue Screens of Death, lockups and forced reboots in the form of the 3 finger salute. (<ALT><CTRL>+  <DELETE> They all have more features than any of us will ever use.

Todays operating systems are much more than the fundamentals that allow us to make our computers run other programs.  They contain a bunch of useful programs that come with the Operating system package.

Apple OS X

I don’t have a lot to say about OSX, because I don’t use it very much. That isn’t to say it’s a less worthy system.

OSX is Unix based, much of the GNU open sourced software is available for the Apple platform.  It also comes abundantly equipped with its suite of apps, such as Facetime,  Safari, Quicktime, and iTunes.   Arguably the OSX system is best at handling media such as music video and pictures.

Microsoft Windows 10.

Windows has been the most reviled os ever. Vista sucked Windows 7.0 was a marked improvement. Then followed the 8.x disaster.   Windows 10.x is pretty decent. Its reliable robust and intuitive. It’s very full featured.

Because it’s a very popular os it has a huge online support community. OEM support is scheduled in twice a year updates at around April and October. Unlike the previous service pack updates of earlier Windows versions, The updates are smooth with few reported update fails. The updates are somewhat automated although they may require a couple of reboots.  I tried to avoid using Windows on my home computers in the Vista through the windows 8 days. Windows 10. is a vast improvement and is a pleasure to use.

Linux (Ubuntu)

Linux is ideal for the beginner computer user and the hacker types. It’s turned into a mature and very functional operating system  A dual boot system can be installed on most systems, It can be installed on a flash drive or as part of a dual booted system.   Linux will run on just about any hardware.

Ubuntu is what is called a distribution,  A package of selected programs and apps. It is the most popular Linux distribution. Ubuntu is suitable for Complete novices. IT professionals and Hackers.

  • For novices the simplicity of the Graphical interface, and the inclusion of the most commonly used application. Ubuntu hardware requirements are low and will perform better than most modern operating systems with limited hardware.  Children and novices find the system easy to use, partly because they have no preconceived notions on how things should work, It being free and runs efficiently on low priced systems.
  • IT professionals love the power of Unix based systems. Ubuntu and other Linux based systems form the basis of the internet. Everything from online servers, the cloud to routers and smart switches are running Ubuntu and Linux.  Ubuntu is available in two major flavors; With a Graphical Interface, much like Windows or OS X and a Text-Based server system.
  • Hackers and tweakers have lots to play with,  The native terminal mode is very powerful,   Systems can be customized to suit almost any desire.  perl, python,  and ruby. It also has  GCC which is a sort of super compile that supports. C (gcc), C++ (g++), Objective-CObjective-C++, Fortran (gfortran), and ADA.Ada (GNAT). Since the operating system is open it is well understood and documented.  Linux was designed from the beginning to be a developers playground and can be customized to small enough to operate a home router, a gamers system, or a super computer’s OS

A terminal version of Ubuntu is available internally to Windows 10 . It can run under the command shell or from the Start menu. OS X has its own native Unix like shell.  A full-blown Linux system can be installed to replace the original Windows or Mac Operating system or alongside it in a Dual Bootable system.   I have a little notebook that was running Vista. I replaced the OS Use it for when traveling for surfing and for  running CHIRP to program my ham radio’s.

Another option is to run take a portion of disk space and to reconfigure the system to run dual booted. The user has the option of booting into either system. I have a newer HP Envy 17. It’s got a 1 TerraByte Hard drive, Windows 10 will never miss the 200 GB I stole to run Ubuntu.  There is plenty of storage for either platform.  This is a spare computer that my wife and I share.  Useful for extended travel, and computing without being wired around our home.  We both use Windows. I use Ubuntu for programming  In Python and C/C++.

Free Programs/Apps

Following is a list of essential free essential programs that are useful and might increase productivity.


This is a quick and fast viewer for image files. Irfanview is capable of doing some basic editing function.  Although the editing functions are Basic it does what it does very well. Irfan view will display,   crop, resize/resample brightness/contrast, rotate and color correction.  Unfortunately this is a Windows only Program It is free with no advertisement.  It is not Open Source and there is a small charge for commercial uses.


This is a serious photo/Image editor.   It has a huge advantage over Photoshop. because not only do you get to own it, rather than rent, It’s free.   It will run on Linux, OS X or Windows.  Although there are lots of tutorials, and a great manual,  The program isn’t all that intuitive for the casual user, but it is capable and not real difficult learn the basic functions. It is Gnu  OpenSource and free without obligation or strings attached.


Other than a web browser office software is perhaps the most useful of any personal application software. LibreOffice is more than just a program or an app, it’s a suite of powerful productivity applications. A few of them are:

  • Writer the processor
  • Calc a spreadsheet program
  • Impress: a presentation Program
  • Base: a database program.

What it doesn’t have are an email program and a calendar type program such as Outlook. This can be rectified by installing Thunderbird with the Lightning add-on.

The only real competition to LibreOffice is Microsoft Office which costs money. It’s available on a lease basis or outright purchase.  LibreOffice is free.  Free as in no cost, no strings attached.

LibreOffice is not an inferior product to its Microsoft competition. While some of Microsoft’s features might have an appeal to certain personal environments LibreOffice has it’s own set of advantages.

Even if one has bought and paid for Microsoft office it cost nothing to load LibreOffice anyway, it can’t hurt to have a backup.

One of LibreOffice’s biggest strengths is its compatibility.  Office productivity software has come and gone in the past. LibreOffice supports just about all the formats Including Wordstar, Lotus, or Quatropro. Writer can be used for HTML files. Not least of all Microsoft Office files can me read edited and written.

Governments outside of the United States have adopted LibreOffice as a standard, The Open Document File (ODF) format is an ISO standard. and is unlikely to ever go unsupported. It is critical for government agencies to have access to files forever.  Not only is LibreOffice capable of reading old WordPerfect or Wordstar files stored in the ODF format are assured to have future accessibility.

Old versions of LibreOffice and its predecessor OpenOffice often had problems with keeping the same formats. Libre office is very good at this in newer versions.  I had to surrender and purchase Office a few years ago because the editing and submitting of certain court reports had some formatting issues. This has been resolved and MS Office is pretty much retired.

I find that LibreOffice is very intuitive, some might not but only because it’s not the same as the Office suite that they are used to.  The user interface is excellent as are the help files and online user-generated he n in Windows Apple and Linux Systems. There is no Microsoft Office available for Linux.

Python Programming Language

Most people won’t see a need to install a programming language.  Learning some programming does have its benefits. Python, in particular, lends itself to doing small repetitive tasks. and automation.

Python is what is called a high-level interactive language,  Which means that it has a powerful syntax, and tends to be able to do powerful things in a simple program. It is interactive. One can type in one line at a time or terminal either to test code lines or to use as a calculator.   Whether to automate simple tasks or to learn a little bit of programming Python is a great place to start.

Some reasons to select Python are:

  • Unlike BASIC this is modern, and because it’s from a single source it’s consistent between platforms.    Python is very powerful and often allows complex problems to have simple solutions
  • It’s Interpretive and interactive. Interpretive means there is no complex compiling and linking involved.  You type save it and run it.
  • It uses the standard C language library.
  • There is lots of available help, tutorials and example programs. site has excellent tutorials and example programs.


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Banning The AR15

The AR 15 has been a controversial firearm in recent months. Recent mass shootings have put the AR 15 in focus and much of the blame has been put on the modern weapon. What is an AR15, and what purpose do they serve the modern sportsman?  How are they different from other commonly used rifles.


The AR 15 was developed by Eugene Stoner for the company Armalite. The design intention was to develop a combat weapon that was accurate lightweight and capable of replacing the M-14. The designation AR15, means that is derived from being the 15th design for Armalite

It was Colt that developed the military version known s the M16 and the civilian version which kept the label AR-15. The M16 was capable of both semi-automatic and fully automatic mode. The M16 has evolved into the M-4 a shorter version with a 16 inch barrel that has the option with the selector switch of semiautomatic or 3 round burst mode. Todays AR-15 has evolved into todays most popular firearm in America that is flexible inexpensive to own and shoot as well as accurate. The M16 and its military derivatives remain illegal and unavailable for civilian use except under some very limited situations.

What Is an AR 15 ?

The AR15 is a lightweight, 5.56×45mm, magazine-fed, gas-operated semi-automatic rifle. It was designed to be manufactured with the extensive use of aluminum alloys and synthetic materials resulting  in a lightweight, intermediate cartridge magazine-fed, air-cooled rifle with a rotating lock bolt, actuated by direct impingement gas operation.

Todays AR 15 comprises of the following componants.

  1. An Upper Assemblyis basically the barrel  and the reciever with the bolt assembly
  2. A Lower assembly which consists of the Magazine receiver, trigger and housing sear and hammer
  3. .Furniture which is the traditionally rails the  plastic pieces such as the Handguard and shoulder stock.
  4. Accessories which are the optonal devices such as opticss, sights flashlights and  slings.

According to the BATF the only part that is considered a firearm is the lower.

The AR-15 is often referred to as a high powered rifle. This is false.  The AR-15 uses a  5.56 x 45 (or .223 cal) cartridge. Which is low powered by most rifle standards. It is a souped up .22,  Most gun enthusiast would classify the AR 15 as an intermediate powered weapon.

It’s because of the smaller cartridge size that it becomes high capacity. The same holds true with handguns, a 9mm Glock 17uses 17 round Magazines, While a traditional Colt 1911 magazine typically is 7 Rounds. The rule of thumb is smaller ammo – larger capacity. Larger more devesting ammo is less capacity.

Scout vs AR15 Magazines

The picture above shows a comparison, from left to right of a 30 round AR mag vs a 20 rnd Mag vs a 10 Round .308 magazine.  It’s because the smaller less powerful bullet allows for stuffing more of them into a magazine that the magazines become “High capacity”.

The AR 15 is modular, which accounts for it’s different appearance. It doesn’t have the sleek wooden stock of other rifles, and has a lot of polymer that makes it lightweight and adaptable. The buttstock is adjustable which makes it adaptable for shooters of all sizes.

The AR 15 is semiautomatic, or autoloading. The technology is 100 years old and is used in all sorts of handguns rifles .22 caliber and shotguns.  An autoloader simply reloads another round after a shot is fired. Every shot must be prefaced by an independent trigger pull.

Why an AR-15?

The interwebs have been flooded on social media with the proclamation,” Nobody needs an AR-15?”

The truth is that probably nobody needs an AR15.  It just happens to be very well suited for a variety of uses. It has become America’s most popular rifle. The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates there are roughly 5 million to10 million AR-15 rifles owned in the United States,   There is nothing inherent in the AR -15 that makes it more dangerous than any other gun. The AR does have many features that make it desirable to a wide range of gun owners.

Hunters like them because of the light weight and accuracy, The Magazines can be smaller capacity, for shooting coyotes and feral hogs.  The high accuracy is useful for groundhogs and prairie dog. The small caliber is suitable for smaller deer that can be found in the south.

The AR 15 is popular in rural areas for home protection because of its inherent maneuverability. It has more range than a shotgun or handgun, and useful for protecting one’s home and property, against two or four legged predators. Ranchers have found the AR-15 useful, it doesn’t take up in a 4 wheeler, or pickup truck accurate, and capable of just about any assignment it is called upon.

The shooting range is where most AR-15s get their workout.  The ammo and gun are inexpensive and allows one to shoot more. The more one shoots the more shooters get proficient.  A good AR-15 can be bought for around $500 dollars, a lot less than most high powered rifles.  The AR-15 has been described as a Barbie doll for men, or as the Lego of guns. It is very customizable, Furniture and accessories can be swapped out and added as desired. Adjustable stocks fit shooter of all size, and the light recoil is painless to the recoil sensitive.


The recent school shooting in Florida has many people calling for a ban on the so called “assault rifles” or specifically the AR-15.  I hoped to show that the AR-15 is not unique from many another commonly accepted gun. It isn’t more powerful, nor any more deadly than any other gun. There are more crimes committed with handguns than with all rifles. The support to ban the AR-15 is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to ban all guns.

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Harvey, The Beginning

West End of the Galveston Seawall

We had a light rain overnight, then a short but colorful storm before the sunrise.  Our lights blinked off momentarily.  Equalities computer rebooted,  mine didn’t. It’s the first of many times I’m sure.

Equality and I went out to get a little air and see whats happening around and about.  There aren’t a lot of people around, but even Houston isn’t reporting much traffic.  All the stores were open, and our local Randalls is well stocked with water, milk,  bread, and eggs. We just picked up some fruit.

We went to the west end of the seawall to see what the Gulf is doing.  Pretty gray light rain and lots of waves.  Some waves were breaking over the seawall.  Although not very inviting it wasn’t very threatning yet either.

The tidal surge is predicted to be 2 to 4 feet. not bad.  12 to 16 inches of rain, still not too bad.  Tropical storm conditions until Tuesday, Yuch. NOOA radio is calling for hurricane conditions on Tuesday, none of the other media is really claiming this.

It looks like we will fare better than those on the coast SouthWest of us or for those who are in Houston.

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Harvey is Coming.

Dawn on Galveston

Harvey is coming, and as usual, his arrival is full of hype and breathless reporting locally and nationally.   so far it is still just a depression and hasn’t formed into an official tropical storm. Yet.

A Hurricane Watch and Storm Surge Watch is posted for much of the coast of Texas, as Tropical Depression Harvey treks northwestwards at 9 mph over the Gulf of Mexico. An Air Force hurricane hunter plane found that Harvey had reorganized into a tropical cyclone on Wednesday morning, with a large, disorganized closed surface circulation and top winds to 35 mph. Harvey is expected to intensify into a strong tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane that will bring dangerous flooding rains in excess of 10” to Texas late this week. This Hurricane Watch is the first for any part of Texas since Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Precipitation Prediction.

Landfall is expected to be near Corpus Christi. pretty far away.  The thing with this storm is that it is unorganised and expected to move very slowly.  It’s expected to drop a lot of rain. What it also means is that we don’t expect much in the way of hurricane force winds or an overwelming tidal surge. Just a lot of rain over 3 or 4 days. This isn’t going to be an Ike or a Rita at least in this area.

We have a personal policy of evacuation and doing it early under any serious threat. Harvey so far poses no such threat to us. Galveston is an Island flat and exposed to the Gulf of Mexico. Real tidal surges and hurricane force winds are dangerous to us, but we can handle lots of rain pretty well,   Rain will pretty much just run off into the Gulf.  The real threat is to the Mainland, Houston is flat and lots of poorly drained areas. 10 inches or more of rain and there will be flooding of highways and neighbourhoods.  There is no place for the water to go.

So how bad will it get in Galveston?  Mostly it’s gonna be wet and miserable. We plan on staying home unless there is a good break in the weather. If we do venture out it probably won’t be off Island. With this much rain we are likely to lose power, hopefully, it will be momentary.  The likely hood of us losing power isn’t so much a reflection on the severity of Harvey, but the unreliable power we have on the Island. As long as there aren’t any widespread power outages on the Mainland any power outages will be brief.  Long term power outages are awfully uncomfortable here.  Losing TV, lights and internet isn’t so bad, but not having air conditioning in Texas in August would be very uncomfortable.


We want to Sams club and picked up a few things. a case of 28 bottles of spring water. The same water we normally drink.  Some canned chicken meat mayo. beer and wine.  Got some eggs and cheese at the grocery stores.  Both cars are topped off just in case we decide later to evacuate. I have several flashlights and lamps that are rechargeable, and have them all topped off.  Download a couple of Kindle books.  I have a radio with new batteries. I think we are prepared pretty well, plenty of food.  I sometimes wish I had a generator though.


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Ruger Gunsite Scout (.308)

The Ruger Gunsite Scout (GSR) has been out for 6 years now. There are lots of good reviews out on it. What follows isn’t so much a review but just a few observations about the gun that I own. My own GSR is a stainless steel 18-inch barrel with a laminate stock.

Stainless Scout with 5 rnd PMAG and Thread Protector on the 18 inch Barrel

The late great Colonel Jeff Cooper defined the concept of the scout rifle as ” one gun to own if you only have one.” He also warned, “Beware the man with one gun, for he probably knows how to use it.”   There has been controversy about the concept of one gun for all purposes along with the concerns whether it is very good at anything in specific.

The 18″ barrel qualifies it as a carbine. it’s short lightweight and effective with the .308  chambering.  It’s light weight with the ghost ring adjustable rear aperture sight and a non-glare, protected blade front sight allows for quick make ready aiming. When equipped with a low powered forward mounted scope, a fast aim with both eyes opened is easily accomplished.  The gun comes with an  Accurate-Mag 10 round steel box magazine.   The big magazine is conspicuous and awkward looking.  It is, however, functional. and trouble free. I purchased two extra plastic magazines a 10 Round Ruger and a 5  round Magpul Pmag. Neither are as obtrusive.

The GSR is a good shooter, I can shoot within a 3-inch circle. ( 1.5 moa)  a better shooter would be able to tighten it up a bit. I use the forward mounted Leupold FX II 2.5X28 mounted forward of the receiver. The scope is bright and sharp at 2.5 magnification. The scope is mounted using a see through mount which allows the usage of the ghost ring sights if I choose.  Choices are good.  The rifle is soft shooting for a .308, the butt has a soft foam butt pad,  There are also three spacers that can be installed in the butt to adjust the pull to the shooter.

While the concept of a Cooper defined scout rifle might be considered obsolete by some shooters and may consider the light weight AR15s a better choice as  the ” one gun to own if you only have one.” The RGS excels on certain properties. The .308 round is devastating and is capable of bringing down just about any large game in North America.  The bolt action is simple, reliable and practically failproof.  While a magazine exchange is quick and easy,  rounds can be singly loaded into the chamber because of the large open receiver..

This rifle now has 3 Mags.  The original Mag is a 10 rounder,. It is black and simple looking. It’s about 5″ long and extends 3 1/4″ below the stock.  Ruger is pretty proud of them.  They can be bought for around $50.00 dollars.  They are rugged and will probably last the life of the gun.

I also have  a 10 round Ruger polymer mag, These are a little shorter, 4″ in length and extend 2.5″ below the stock. It looks less cumbersome and it will be less likely to interfere while shooting prone. The magazine has a dust cover which can protect the rounds and magazine from collecting debris while carried in a pocket. The lips of the magazine are thin and somewhat flexible. This allows top loading of the magazine from the open chamber.  The next best thing to using stripper clips.  Ruger warns that loading a mag this way should be done sparingly because it could cause excess wear on the thin lips.  There are reports of uncapped magazines unloading rounds after the mags have been sitting a while.  Using the cap will prevent this from happening.  Despite the thin lips the magazines are well made, and I prefer them over the steel mags even though they cost about half as much as the steel ones, I think they are a better magazine

The third magazine for the scout is a 5 round Pmag. It’s a little bit shorter (3 1/4″) than the 10 round polymer Ruger It only extends about 1 3/4″ below the stock.  This makes for more comfortable carrying, through brush while hunting without snagging, The 5 rounder is actually a 6 rounder, There is a tab on the underside of the follower that can be cut off to enable 6th round loading  I found these at a couple dollars more at $27.00. A ten round version is two dollars more.

Left to Right: 5 round Magpul PMAG – Ruger OEM 20 Round Steel Mag – Ruger 10 Round Polymer Mag

Overall I prefer the plastic mags over the supplied steel ones.  Not only are they cheaper, they are smaller and quieter. They aren’t as loose in the magwell as the steel mags.  Three round mags are available, they will install flush with the stock, and might be more suitable for hunters.  I don’t believe I will bother with them.  I will likely purchase several more, but I don’t have a clear preference of either polymer mag and will increase my stocks of both 5 and 10 rounder. All the same, though I will continue using my overpriced original equipment steel mag. It works and will probably last as long as the scout will.

The trigger on the scout is pretty good, not quite like breaking a glass rod but it is positive with about a 6 lb pull.  The bolt action is a little stiff and initially, had a raspy feel to it.  It smoothed out after a while but the bolt likes to be operated with authority. A very thin coat of lube helps too. When the bolt is pulled back firmly the casing will be ejected with full authority. If one pulls back on it a little gently one can remove the brass by hand for reloading.

My stainless GSR came with a flash suppressor installed.     It also came with a stainless thread protector.  I removed the flash suppressor, and installed the thread protector, resulting in the gun being about 2″ shorter.   I haven’t shot it under darkened conditions yet, but I will reinstall the suppressor if it is a problem shooting.

Part of the Cooper definition of a scout rifle is a low powered forward mounted optic.  I chose the  Leupold FX II 2.5X28 mounted forward of the receiver.on the GSRs Picatinny rail.  The forward mount is controversial, some people like it others hate it. I like it.  I think that the people that don’t like it don’t like it cause they are used to the closer mounted scopes, don’t value or have issues with the two eyes opened concept.  I like it because for me it is fast to get on sight and target.  It has the added benefit of keeping the receiver clear. The problem is the line of sight using the high see through mounts can cause the shooter to get a chin weld over a much prefered cheek weld while aiming and shooting

Field ready GSR

The Scout concept is about one gun for all purposes.  I don’t know if there is any such thing. There are some things the GSR excels in others that it isn’t going to be the right equipment.

I think the GSR would be a poor choice for (sub)urban home defense.  The .308 is powerful and will over penetrate most walls.  An AR, Shotgun or handgun could be a better choice.

The GSR is not a weapon of war nor a zombie killer It’s a bolty after all.

It’s not a 1000yd Sniper rifle.

The .308 ammo is just too expensive to be much of a plinker.

There are some things that it excels at though:

The light weight makes it a great brush gun.  It’s short and light and this makes the GSR an easy carry.   The safety isn’t just a simple trigger block, but a combination trigger and firing pin block.  A forward mounted scope allows very fast to shoulder aim and shoot.

The GSR is an ideal deer stand rifle, its great for close quarters and the .308 is sufficiently powerful to take down any deer or hog for at least 300 yards are less.

A ranch or truck gun, Its compact size doesn’t require much room to maneuver, and its a very rugged reliable gun and can handle being knocked about.


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What I saw in Boerne, TX

While staying at Bourne, Equality and I were watching some deer through our window. The deer were jumping all over the place, We then noticed this giant cat stalking the deer between us and the deer.   The deer left quickly and the big cat took its time and went into cover behind a cedar tree.  The Texas wildlife and parks denies that any such cats exist. Although they have been spotted by quite a few people.  I don’t know what kind of cat this is, but its about 2 0r 3 ft tall body 4 to 5 feet one, with a long thick tail.  Weighs probably around 50 to 80 lbs.

Big Blac Cat Boerne TX

Big Black Cat Returning to thick cover

If anyone knows what this is please let me know.

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Lessons on Cord Cutting.

Cable bills are soaring. and we are getting less for our home entertainment dollar.  Some of us are cutting costs by either cutting back or eliminating our cable services. There are cheaper or even free.  I just want to cover a few tips.

Over the Air

The great broadcast television switch over to digital had a lot of people convinced that we were now completely reliant on our cable service for content. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  Each broadcast channel has multiple available subchannels. From Galveston, I can receive about 77 channels. Some of them are religious, others Spanish or Asian channels. and a few are shopping channels. There is plenty of good stuff available. I was  somewhat surprised to find that a lot of the channels I got were local broadcast channels  and not cable channels.

I live about 50 – 70 miles away from the Broadcast towers. and my antenna is a smaller one that fits conveniently in  the attic. There are times that a few  channels  can’t be received, but most of them can be viewed reliably.  If one lives closer a pair of rabbit ears may be sufficient.  The video is digital. there is no shadow there is no ghosting ,there is no snow. whether the material is standard 480 or 1040P.

It’s worth nothing that there can be a clear difference in quality between the cable offerings and what you receive over the air. Comcast tends to compress pretty heavily.  while the over the stuff has  fewer artifacts and compression.

Content Streaming Hardware.

There are several ways to access the streaming content, my intent is not to give a comprehensive review but to cover the capabilities. available with each method. If you’re going to stream content you will need a good high-speed internet service.

Smart TVs

Smart TVs have streaming capabilities built into the Television itself.  The biggest advantage to  smart TVs is that the user only needs one remote., another is that it doesn’t use precious HDMI ports. The interface is  consistent and simple.  Access to the content are called Apps. Typically Apps that are available include Pandora, Netflix,  Hulu and a bunch of other mainstream services.  I have one of the original Visio sets, they recently dropped Amazon from the availability list. Probably due to the complexity and security that is involved with  the options of making purchases.  Unlike other devices. It’s not so simple to update the hardware and software when it’s integrated into the set. The external units are inexpensive enough to be disposable if the technology becomes obsolete.

Some addons devices such as Blue-Ray and game systems such as Xbox and PlayStation also have smart streaming capabilities.


The Roku is the Grandaddy of the of the streaming  add-on-box. It has a great interface and comes preloaded with a bunch of services. They come in different models, and have a huge choice of available programming. It’s reasonably priced particularly if one purchases one of the middle priced boxes or sticks, there isn’t much 4k quality to stream these days. I have 2 older boxes, They are not as flexible as the Amazon Fire Stick, and the remote is infrared so the box is line of sight, and the remote needs to be pointed at the box.

Google Chromecast Cast

The Chromestick takes a different approach.  You are to use a device, typically, a smartphone or tablet, although  a PC running chrome will work.  The apps are loaded into the phone.  you select a video that is broadcast from your Chromcast device out to your HDMI port.

I found Chromecast a little limited. First of all, they don’t support Amazon Prime. The other issue I had with it is that it relies on the phone.   Loading heavily burdened phones with dozens of more apps is awkward, at least to me it is.

Amazon Fire Stick

I have the Roku Chromecast, and the Firestick.  The only one that  we use these days is the Firestick.   It has a convenient  remote that is radio operated. so the remote doesn’t need to be pointed directly at the stick, would be difficult to do anyway because the stick is just a little bit bigger than a USB thumb drive that plugs into an HDMI port at the back of the set. It works with all the typical apps, including of course Amazon Video and music. The unit is cheap and like most Amazon services the delivery is quick and efficient.

If you subscribe to Amazon Prime there is quite a bit of free material available. This combined with the free downloadable books, and free delivery makes it a good value.  The Amazon Interface is good and easy to access.

While the choices available are as inclusive as any of the other hardware, it can be expanded even more with the addition of Kodi.

The Firestick operating system is written in Linux, the open sourced and widely understood operating system that runs many of our devices and computers.   Because of this third, party applications are easily written and can be added on. Kodi was originally written as a Linux computer program to catalog and stream video sources from around the internet.  Its was initially called XBMC, they probably figured the name Kodi was less intimidating for non-geeks. Installing Kodi is moderately complex, but can be done by carefully following directions. The firesticks can be bought preloaded for a moderate markup. There are a couple of different methods for loading Kodi, I used my computer and followed the instructions here. Loading can also be done directly by using the app called ES.

Additional streams can be accessed using  the Kodi addon Exodus, The content available here is less legitimate, but almost any content can be found. Old or new series for binge watching, and old or new Movies are all available. Exodus used to be called Genesis, I suppose the next version would be called Leviticus.



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