First off, I’m going to include December 2013 as a part of 2014. December is the normal transition point in the calendar year but in 2013 it included a lot of beginnings and endings leading up to the new year. Foremost on the list was teaching Aviation Maintenance Technology at Gavilan College. I enjoyed the gig a great deal and I think my students did too. Unfortunately I was not called back to teach the the spring semester. I had finished the AMT program in the spring of 2013 myself and was asked to come back in the fall and teach Airframe. While I was teaching I was also finishing my degree in AMT, graduating in December.
While teaching and finishing my degree I also embarked on a journey into Ham Radio by earning my Technichen Class amature radio license. Along with radio, I decided to do more woodworking this year starting with a big Rubo style workbench, with the intention of using only hand tools in my woodworking, no power tools.
So lets get started with AMT; Since graduating I haven’t done much practical work in aviation. That’s not to say I have been completely out of the loop. I have continued studying and staying current on the day-to-day goings on in the industry. This year I plan on taking a more active roll and get myself involved with some restoration work.
As a Ham I made some headway by completing some small radio projects starting with a 50W dummy load for testing, an RF strength meter, a couple of CW practice oscillators, a rigid 2 meter J-pole antenna, and a flexible 2 meter J-pole. After some study time I passed my General license test followed by my Amateure Extra Class license. For the upcoming year I will continue to study for my FCC commercial radio license that will let me work on aviation and marine radios. I am also studying for my RADAR license as well. The plan is to take all three test elements for the GROL+RADAR (General Radio Operator License and RADAR endorsement) some time early in 2015.
Since I haven’t been teaching, I needed to fill the income gap. Fortunately I have had plenty of facilities work around the homestead to keep me busy. A benefit to doing side work is that I have had the time to move my shop space and start settling in to the new space.
That workbench I started in December 2013 was finished in March and throughout the year I have managed to finish other projects as well; a saw bench, a large rolling shop cart, three draw pins, a mallet, a white-board pen holder, a bookcase for the living room, a shop desk, a French cleat system for the shop, a chisel holder (and a several other tool holders for the French cleat system), the housing for a CW oscillator with hand made brass fittings, two centering gages, two small-radius compases, a large compass/divider, four free-standing plaques, an enclosed flyer holder with a glass display front, a mirror holder, a rolling baking cart, a plaque with deer antlers, a rolling tool cart, a steel & wood planing stop, a troublesome packing crate, a sign, and a side-board table. There have also been several tool restoration projects along the way. You can see several Flikr sets for pictures of some of these projects here.
Nearly all of the projects have turned out as expected or better. There have been some, shall we say… boo boos, but very few that couldn’t be fixed. The packing crate is one of the ones that can’t really be fixed. I try to learn something from every project. Some I learn a lot from, like the crate. I have a new design to try out for a second shot at it. All in all, it has been a very productive year.
I am looking forward to adding to my skills, making some nice furniture, working on airplanes, and getting in some quality radio time.
Happy New Year from FlyBoyJon!