Saturday, August 31, 2019

Temporary Reprieve - Latest on Dorian

I've long had a saying while keeping track of hurricane forecasts, "the models giveth and the models taketh away".  For about a day, the forecast landfall moved south of us from the location plotted Wednesday, down to south Florida - somewhere around Palm Beach to Jupiter.  Then the models reeled that back and started moving the path closer to us, went past us and is now well offshore.  The models gave, took it back, then gave something different.

So I don't want to say we don't need to pay attention, but the models and forecasts have been bringing the turn to the north earlier in time by about a day, with the result that the storm appears to be passing us well to sea.  The latest forecast plot.

We're still in the Cone of Doom, just south of the bump on the East Coast - Cape Canaveral.  A tropical storm watch comes within 25 miles south of the house and it's reasonable to expect it to extend farther north tomorrow, but I don't bother with shutters for a tropical storm.  My current plan is to get a good look at the morning plots and decide if the shutters go up in the morning.  What I'll be looking for is if the cone shifts left tomorrow.  The path has been looking like this since this morning, and the various models almost all reflect it staying offshore and perhaps offshore the entire US. 

This is when we say, "you don't let your guard down until it's about a thousand miles past your location".  It has been hard to forecast so far, and that doesn't fill me with confidence. 

The plot of arrival time of tropical storm winds looks to be Monday morning, perhaps as early as 8AM, so any time tomorrow would be good to put up the shutters.  Being August, it's pretty hot when you don't get a cloud, so either up early or late in the day. 

Today, I took down my antennas.  The entire installation needs to be examined and a handful of problems from the lightning strike need to be troubleshot and fixed.  My antenna projects always begin with the phrase "when it cools down", which is typically by early November (but can be earlier), and that had been my plan.  Only one antenna was unusable and looked bad with my network (antenna) analyzer (current model) and since I have other antennas, I'm not completely off the air, I already found a problem I didn't even know I had. 

So here we are, in the midst of a temporary reprieve, hoping it becomes a permanent reprieve.  Over in the Bahamas, they're preparing for up to 24 hours of category 4 winds.  Honestly, pray for folks there.  From what I know, I'd be surprised to see much standing there by the time the storm clears out. 


  1. The LPDA is the bad one?

    Nice analyzer! I have a RigExpert AA-600, and it's been worth every penny I paid for it!

    Fingers crossed and prayers sent here that you dodge this one.

    1. Yeah, my LPDA has bitten the big one. Not sure what, just yet.

      I have the AIM4170, an old version of the idea, but I really like the accuracy. It’s a one port VNA. I could easily talk myself into the two port version.

    2. I've been tempted a few times to buy a 2-port unit, but I just don't do enough stuff that would require it to justify the expense.

      An LPDA is a pretty simple antenna. No traps, and just aluminum tubes or rods for the left and right sides of the antenna, so I wonder what killed it.

      Any signs of arcing/melting/soot/damage?

      That one was a Telex, wasn't it?

    3. No, it's a Tennadyne. I switched from a balun made of coax to a toroidal transformer years ago, and I think it may have become iron vapor instead of iron powder. I looked at the box it's in and there were no burn marks, nothing that looked damaged. I didn't open the box because I was more concerned with sealing.

      Now that the antenna is disconnected, I need to sweep the cable again and see if it looks the same. Set the AIM to TDR mode and see if I can find out how far away the problem is.

      While I was putting up the shutters, I noticed the bark on one of my palm trees is split, almost equally in quarters around the perimeter of the trunk. I've been trying to figure out exactly what got hit, and this is the best clue I've found so far!

    4. Ahhh...Tennadyne. Well, I knew it started with a "T"!

      You may have suffered the effects of a strong "Near Hit" (or near miss, if you prefer...), which would have induced large currents in anything conductive nearby.

      That tree may be history, just doesn't look like it yet.

  2. "you don't let your guard down until it's about a thousand miles past your location"."

    Right now, the center of the eye is 32 miles north of my latitude. I won't breath easy till it is a 100 miles north and moving north. And that according with the forecasts won't happen till Monday afternoon.

    I am waiting for the 11 pm update and rumor has it, it is going to be upgraded to a Cat 5. Moving at only 8 mph? I don't want to be in the Bahams.