Life Update!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by bigwill51534, Aug 13, 2020.

  1. bigwill51534

    bigwill51534 Saint, Church of Ryanism

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    It has been quite a while since I gave a quick update, so I figured I would go ahead and show everyone what all I have been up to the last few years!

    First, I started with my current company back in February of 2018, and have never looked back. I work as a software integration specialist, assisting US Navy Ships as they upgrade and utilize a few key pieces of software that is installed on all US Navy ships (plus some MSC ships, PT Boats, and a few other random commands). I'm now the lead engineer for that software, and travel the world to build small standalone computer networks to run this software. I manage an inventory of 250 laptops/servers/switches, and deploy them out to ships when the ship's networks are going to be taken offline. That way the ships can still utilize the software that I support while their network is down. The networks are SUPER simple, and we've developed a pretty decent process for building and certifying these assets. As of right now, I have equipment (managed by me) on 20 ships all over the world. And, the demand is only growing. Right now, there are only my manager, one employee underneath me, and me to keep these networks up and going. It's a crazy deal, but we manage quite well. Our company is expanding quickly, as we were just awarded a $165,000,000 contract to keep us employed for the next 10 years. We have now (as a company) bought several 3D printers and even bought a 3-person battery operated submarine which dives down to ~450 feet. We are expanding operation all over the world and the company's future is incredibly strong. Benefits are amazing, I work from home much of the time, and I pretty much make my own schedule. I travel the world now to assist ships, which has been a really fun adventure. I was in Rota, Spain just this past February and have traveled all over the US for this company.

    On top of all that, I have established myself in our community and have been blessed with a very amazing support structure. I have many incredible friends who I consider family, and have a lot of people who help to keep me moving forward in the right direction. I have no family within 2500 miles of my home, so I really am out on my own. Especially since I retired from the Navy.

    On a more negative note, my wife of 9 years just left me this past month very unexpectedly. She hasn't exactly set herself up for success in this endeavor, and has been shooting herself in the foot since she left. So, this is actually all working out in my favor. I'm keeping the house, her car, and pretty much everything in the house aside from her personal belongings. I have a very solid custody plan in place, and my lawyer has protected my son and I very well. I had already been paying all of the bills anyway, so it actually reduced my bills by her leaving. I'm sitting better financially than I have in a long time. She is trying to act really dirty so far with the divorce, but it will all work out in the end. She is claiming abuse and I have absolutely never done anything of the sort towards her. It will be nice to find someone to treat me how I feel to be treated, though. I know that there's someone out there for me. And I am in no hurry at all to make it happen. I plan on enjoying life and having fun for the next phase of my life. If I meet someone and things get serious, awesome. If not, that's perfectly OK as well. I have enough amazing friends to keep me busy and to help take care of me. It's been a very humbling month with all of the support that I've received over this.

    I have been working a lot the last few years towards learning and building amateur radio equipment. I amassed a bunch of old misfit parts and built a 65 foot tall radio tower in my back yard on my own. I actually engineered the whole project from beginning to end. I placed the tower in the place on my property where I had the longest run to lay the tower down on the ground for maintenance. I had to do a little geometry to figure out how to guy wire it solidly without reaching the guy wire onto my neighbor's property. MANY people said that this would not work, but it survived 80mph winds just this past week without even flinching. So I think it'll be good to go. The antenna on my tower is a Maco M104C 4-element 11 meter beam, which was configured to lay flat. I can rotate the antenna to tune in stations and reject any radio signals coming from the back-side of my antenna. This antenna should be capable of talking across the Atlantic. But, I haven't had the right conditions at the right time to make it happen yet. I talk all over the US, though, using just a glorified CB radio with a BIG amplifier which was built in the late 1970's. The amplifier runs vacuum tubes (three 6JG6a tubes driving six 6LQ6 tubes). I generally see about 700-800 watts out of the amplifier, so it does quite well. All of my equipment has been bought cheap and rebuilt to work in my application. But, it does quite well!

    This is a video that a few really good friends of mine made to showcase my equipment. This was posted in a CB Radio enthusiast group which has somewhere near 24,000 members from all over the world. I've sent a few post cards and things to the group creator's son, who is very involved in the group as well. We've even talked on the phone a few times. I was very proud to have him showcase my station. All of the equipment that you see in this video is mine.


    View: https://youtu.be/vnXhPIgvmiM


    Here are some pictures of me building the tower. I had a few neighbor kids dig the hole for the tower foundation. Then I fabricated a cage and anchored in some huge J bolts to tie everything together. The foundation is 3 feet thick, and is 6 foot by 6 foot square. It took approximately 165 bags of ready-mix concrete (at 80 pounds per bag), bringing the total weight of the foundation to up around 13,600 pounds (give or take). The tower can be raised and lowered using the winch setup that I built, so all maintenance and repairs can be done with the tower on the ground. However, it's built well enough that everything should last for 10+ years with very little maintenance other than taping up the cable connections every few years as the sun breaks down the tape.

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    This is a base station that I setup for a disabled neighbor. That microphone was bought new by my dad back in the 1970's.

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    Extra stuff that I have laying around

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    More extra stuff that I have laying around

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    This is my home base station setup. It serves me quite well!

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    This has all been a really fun adventure. If anyone has any questions or thoughts please feel free to let me know. I absolutely don't know everything, but I can usually find someone who does know the answer to just about any question regarding the radio stuff.

    In conclusion, life is good!!! Even with the negative events occurring in my life, I can't help but be excited for the future ahead. Things are slowly but surely going my way and my hard work is paying off well. I hope that everyone else is enjoying their journey through life. It absolutely isn't easy to survive out here, but it's worth it. No matter who you are, you always have someone looking up to you. Live life with love, compassion, and dignity. As long as you live a good honest life, anything is possible. You may fail 100 times, but the 101st time you will succeed and reap all of the rewards. Stay positive and add happiness to the lives of everyone around you!

    ~Will Courtier~
  2. mistawiskas

    mistawiskas kik n a and takin names

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    Awesome job on your project.
    Enjoy these times. They really help get a person through the declining times ahead.
    Life changes so unexpectedly and the pendulum swings quickly. I never gave two shitz about my health when I was young and now the bill is due.
    It sux ballz getting old, good health in early years helps it from worse sucking later on. And...it all gets here so freaking fast.
    The passing of time can be summed up like the rewinding of an old VHS or cassette tape. The more it progresses, the faster it goes.
    It's great to hear that your life is full and well. I always like hearing good happening to good people.
  3. Goofus Maximus

    Goofus Maximus Too old to be this dumb!

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    In your other post, I mistook your endeavor to be operating a Ham Radio station, and was going to try to pick up your broadcast on a shortwave radio...
  4. hans5849

    hans5849 Serious as a heart attack

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    You running one antenna for TX and RX? Sometimes separating them allows you better comms.
  5. bigwill51534

    bigwill51534 Saint, Church of Ryanism

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    Yeah, I'm avoiding going the full HAM operator route at the moment. Still having a ton of fun without any FCC regulation which is nice.

    I have a selector to choose between the two antennas depending on who I'm trying to listen to. One antenna is a vertically polarized ground plane (Maco V58), and the antenna on top of my tower is horizontally polarized. The vertically polarized antenna communicates better with local contacts, whereas the horizontally polarized antenna is best for long distance contacts.

    ~Will Courtier~
  6. fornik8her

    fornik8her Junior Member

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    Congrats Will, sounds like the world is turning good for you.
  7. hans5849

    hans5849 Serious as a heart attack

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    We have a NVIS antenna for similar effect on our ships.