Our Watcher’s Council Nominations: Secrets to Hide Edition

The Watcher’s Council

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere, and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

So, let’s see what we have for you this week….

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that!And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!

Posted in American Culture, Politics, Watchers Council, Writing | Leave a comment

#UpdateBrazil: The Brazilian and American Right

Jeffrey Nyquist and Italo Lorenzon talk with Paulo Figueiredo Filho about the American political right and its Brazilian counterpart—their similarities, differences and possible collaboration in the future.

Related:

Posted in Active Measures, American Culture, American Sovereignty, Bill of Rights, Calumny, Communism, Conservatism, Cultural Marxism, Democrats, Economy, Education, elitism, Fascism, First Amendment, Foreign Policy, GOP, History, House of Representatives, Ideological Subversion, Indoctrination, Legal/Judicial, Main-Stream Media, Marxism, Mob Action, Operant Conditioning, Political Theory, Politics, Progressive Movement, Psychological Warfare, Senate, Social Engineering, Social Justice, Socialism, Totalitarianism, Tyranny, U.S. Constitution | Tagged | Leave a comment

Baofeng UV-5R Counterfeit Cable Madness

By: Brent Parrish

Baofeng UV-5R V2+ dual band transceiver with extended battery

Baofeng UV-5R V2+ dual band transceiver with extended battery

Well, I haven’t posted much to the blog lately. I’ve had a lot of other commitments to tend to, and just haven’t had much time for blogging. Admittedly, I haven’t been following all the current political shenanigans as of late, either. So, this article is certainly going to be off the beaten track from my usual focus on history and politics. But since the subject of this article took a bit of my time (and patience) this week, I’m hoping what I learned might help somebody.

I’m a bit of a preparedness-minded individual. One of the things that I have been wanting to do for a while now is set up some type of emergency communications system for family and friends. In the event of a major disaster—like 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina, for example—the first thing to go down are cellular networks. It becomes impossible to use a cellphone due to the system being overwhelmed.

What to do?

Well, ham radio is one option. Amateur radio operators (hams for short) are usually the first people to set up emergency communications during major disasters, since experienced hams have the requisite skills to quickly set up networks to get out important information to the rest of the world.

A little while back a vet recommended I pick up a Baofeng UV-5R radio. For the price (around $30 to $40), you can’t beat it for utility. It’s also a great introduction to ham radio. I’m new to ham radio myself. But I’m scheduled to take my ham test in a couple of weeks. I attribute my desire to get my ham license to the fact that there are some affordable mobile communication options like the Baofeng UV-5R now.

The Baofeng UV-5R is essentially a ham radio that operates in the 2 meter (VHF) and 70 cm (UHF) bands—specifically 140-176 MHz (VHF) and 400-520 MHz (UHF). Recently, another friend of mine with a long interest in radio picked one up. So hey! I had to get one, too.

It should be noted that you cannot transmit on a ham radio like the Baofeng UV-5R if you don’t have a ham license and official call sign. I’ll get back to the license issue later.

One of the features that intrigued me about the Baofeng UV-5R is its ability to interface with a computer. The Baofeng UV-5R has 128 memory slots (i.e. channels) that allow you to store around 15 different parameters per frequency. Additionally, the software interface also allows you to do some things you cannot do via the keypad menu on the UV-5R; such as naming channels using alphanumeric characters and setting scan preferences, for example.

I did a bit of research concerning the UV-5R software interface before I bought a Baofeng. I discovered that there has been a number of complaints about software driver issues, mostly concerning the USB cable that connects the computer to the Baofeng UV-5R. I also learned there are a number of so-called “counterfeit” cables being sold.

Now, my friend who just recently bought a Baofeng UV-5R called me this week requesting some assistance in installing the software and driver to get his UV-5R talking to his computer. I said, sure. When I arrived at his house he handed me a small package containing a USB cable for the Baofeng and small DVD, allegedly containing the driver and factory-supplied Baofeng software. The package looked eerily similar to this one found on Amazon:

Baofeng-Counterfeit-USB-Cable

When I tried to run the DVD in my laptop, it would not run … at all. Strangely, the visual appearance of the DVD looked rather generic. Since I had researched some of the issues concerning driver issues with the Baofeng USB cable, I decided to try the recommended solution. This might get a bit technical, but I’m including the information for those who might need it.

This following procedure has been recommended by a number of people who have had issues with the USB cable driver. First, I downloaded the Prolific 3.2.0.0 USB driver from miklor.com. There is more information at the site on driver issues. The Prolific 3.2.00 driver came out in 2007. It’s quite old, by driver standards. But it does work. But there’s a catch.

After I downloaded and installed the Prolific 3.2.0.0 version driver from miklor.com, I rebooted for good measure. After restart, I then plugged the USB cable for the UV-5R into my preferred USB port and turned the UV-5R radio on (volume all the way up). I then opened up some software called CHIRP (which I’ll get into in a little more depth later) that is designed to interface with mobile radios like the UV-5R. When I attempted to download data from the UV-5R, I received a port error (“specified file not found”).

I’m using Windows 10. My friend is running Windows 7. It was necessary to go to the Control Panel and open up the Device Manager. Under “Port and LPT” devices, there was a listing for a “Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port” device with a yellow warning symbol beside it:

Prolific-USB-Warning-Device-Manager

I right-clicked on the device and selected “Update Driver Software.” (This video explains the process in a bit more detail.) One quick note: you want to select the driver from a list, as opposed to allowing Windows to automatically update the driver. Eventually, the following selection showed up showing two versions of the Prolific drivers, a later and an earlier version:

Prolific-Driver-2007

It’s important to select the early 2007 version, not the 2015 Prolific driver. After selecting the early version driver in the list, the driver software successfully installed. I was then able to open up CHIRP and successfully clone my Baofeng UV-5R. There are several videos on YouTube describing this process in more depth (see here and here).

There is a bit of a gotcha! using the backdated driver, from what I’ve heard. If you reboot your computer, and you have internet access, and then plug in your UV-5R to the USB port, Windows Automatic Updates may go ahead and update the driver software—which is what you don’t want. If this is a problem, one possible workaround is to disconnect from the internet prior to connecting your Baofeng UV-5R to the USB port. You can then reconnect to the internet after your device is successfully recognized.

Now, this is where things get interesting. I just received my Baofeng UV-5R a few days ago. I also ordered what I thought was a genuine Baofeng USB cable at the time I ordered my UV-5R (the cable is sold separately), but it did not arrive until after I had helped my friend with his software install. I hoped that since I had already successfully installed the backdated Prolific driver on my computer, and downloaded/uploaded to my UV-5R using CHIRP software, that everything would work fine when my Baofeng USB cable arrived in the mail. Just plug and play.

The cable just arrived. And looks just like this:

Baofeng-Original-USB-Cable

When I plugged up my UV-5R using my new cable, I discovered that my CHIRP software was throwing the old port error. So I fired up the Device Manager again and saw the dreaded yellow warning symbol under Port and LPT devices. So I repeated the same procedure I had using the backdated Prolific driver. I right-clicked on the offending device and selected “Update Driver Software.” I then selected the option to select the driver  software from a list. This time I was presented with this option in the Device Manager under “Ports (COM and LPT)”:

Device-Manager-USB-SERIAL-CH340

What happened to the Prolific driver? Good question.

I went ahead and selected the option to install the USB SERIAL CH340 driver. The driver successfully installed and I was able to clone my UV-5R once again. So, apparently the USB cable I purchased for the UV-5R required a different driver than the USB cable my friend bought.

Well, it just so happened that I stopped by my friend’s house briefly yesterday. He showed me a new Baofeng BTECH tri-band radio that he recently purchased. I noticed in the package that contained the USB cable for the BTECH radio a piece of paper warning Baofeng customers about “counterfeit cables” that were being sold on places like Amazon.

Did I purchase my UV-5R USB cable on Amazon? Check.

But my “official” UV-5R USB cable has the fancy Baofeng logo on it! And it came with a more “official” software DVD that said “Baofeng.” Besides, I was able to successfully install the factory-supplied Baofeng software interface for the UV-5R on my computer. Surely my cable can’t be a “counterfeit” too? Can it?

Apparently it is, according to the official Baofeng website:

Baofeng-AUTHENTIC-USB-Cable

Allegedly, this is the “genuine, authentic” (as opposed to just “genuine” or “authentic”) Baofeng UV-5R USB cable. And you’ll notice it costs around $20, compared to the cheaper USB cables my friend and I bought. According to the Baofeng website, their “genuine, authentic” cable is “plug and play,” no backdated drivers needed.

Sigh.

I can certainly see now why so many people have complained about driver issues with the Baofeng USB cables, considering just how many counterfeit cables there are, apparently. I quick search on Amazon will give a good indication of what I’m talking about.

Since I do have both CHIRP software and the proprietary Baofeng software installed on my computer, I can offer some thoughts. I highly recommend using CHIRP software, rather than the factory-supplied software, although both software interfaces will work. In the DVD supplied with my USB cable, it was a bit non-intuitive where the Baofeng software was located on the DVD. I found it under the “UV5R_VIP” folder in the “Baofeng” folder. I just ran setup.exe from there.

The Baofeng software has a fairly cludgy interface, resembling software from the Windows 95 days. When I first ran the software, the language option was initially set to Chinese. Since my computer is not set up to display a 128-bit character set like Chinese, all the text and menu headings were replaced with question mark characters. I had to fumble around a bit in the top-level menus to find the language option. But once I did I was able to set the language option to English.

The CHIRP software interface is simple, but preferable to the Baofeng software, in my opinion. The big advantage to using CHIRP is that it interfaces with a number of different types of radios, while the Baofeng proprietary software will only work with a Baofeng UV-5R radio. You can also import and export frequency data from your UV-5R as a CSV file (comma-separated values). This makes it possible to open the CSV file as a spreadsheet in Excel, for example. This can be useful if you need to do a lot of editing to your stored data, since programs like Excel allow superior cell-editing capabilities, as opposed to the editing capabilities in CHIRP.

Remember, you don’t need a ham license to just receive and listen to amateur radio bands. But you do need a at least a Technicians Class ham license to transmit, i.e. talk on amatuer radio bands. (More information on licensing can be found at ARRL.org.)

On a technical note: For those of you how may already have successfully set up their UV-5R to interface with their computer, there are a few options concerning scanning worth noting. Many people like to set up their UV-5Rs as police scanners. I have set up my Baofeng to listen to some local emergency frequencies, such as weather, fire department, EMS, police, etc.

CHIRP-Software-Example

En example of the CHIRP software interface. Note the “Duplex” and “Skip” options.

Baofeng-Software-Example

An example of my channel memory setup for my UV-5R displayed in the proprietary Baofeng software interface. Note how the “Skip” option is called “Scan_Add.”

The concern by some is that they might accidentally hit their Push-to-Talk (PTT) key while scanning an emergency frequency. Remember, if you do not have a ham license it is illegal for you to transmit. Furthermore, even if you have a ham license, you wouldn’t want to be transmitting on emergency frequencies, anyway. Just pushing the PTT key is considered a “transmission.” Fortunately, using CHIRP software, you can set the “Duplex” option to “off.” This will effectively disable the antenna, preventing any accidental transmission. Even if you press the PTT key, nothing will happen. Additionally, you can set the “Skip” option in CHIRP to “S” if you want to skip a channel during a scan.

Well, the good news is I still got both “counterfeit” USB cables to work, and saved a little money to boot. How ’bout them apples, huh!

Hope it helps!

Posted in American Culture, electromagnetism, Science | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

The Council Has Spoken!! Our Watcher’s Council Results — 04/22/16

The Watcher’s Council

Winning-Advantage

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.

“Holly came from Miami F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she…”
—Lou Reed, “Walk On The Wild Side”

“All men are liars, said Roberta Muldoon, who knew this was true because she had once been a man.” —John Irving, “The World According to Garp”

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” —Aldous Huxley

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-1ndmEdQX3AM/Tv04FWJ3kTI/AAAAAAAAAzg/P-WNaJRST6Q/s400/Bookworm%2B3.jpg

This week’s winning essay,Bookworm Room’s It’s time for conservatives to take advantage of the Left’s reality denial Focuses on what she sees as a the Left’s reality denial…the fashionable confusion over what’s male and what’s female, what’s right and what’s wrong, and who gets free speech and who doesn’t particularly in our universities. Here’s a slice:

I finally got around to watching last week’s 60 Minutes, which had a segment devoted to Schuyler Bailar, a person who got admitted to Harvard as to swim on its women’s swim team, but who had breast removal surgery over the summer and presented at Harvard asking to swim on the men’s team. Harvard, reeking of political correctness (you can see oleaginous pride oozing off of the interviewed coaches), agreed, which infuriated me. Schuyler, as a woman, would have set breaststroke records deserving of a place on a highly competitive swim team. Schuyler, as a man, is a chubby, hip-heavy slow poke, who routinely comes in last.

Given that I loathe Harvard, why does this infuriate me? Shouldn’t I be cheering anything that lowers Harvard’s standing in the world?

Well, in theory, yes. In fact, though, I think it just stinks that, in the name of political correctness, some deserving young man with good grades and a fast breaststroke couldn’t get into Harvard (presuming, as I do, that such a man exists) because chubby little Schuyler got his place. It seems to me that if Schuyler wants to play with the big boys, Schuyler should also have to play by big boy rules — one of which is, if you’re really slow, you’re not on the team.

As far as I’m concerned, Schulyer’s gender “bait and switch” is tantamount to committing fraud against Harvard, although Harvard is happily complicit in its own victimization. Thinking in terms of fraud, though, has legal ramifications. If there is no reality anymore — in other words, if reality is shaped by our subjective desires rather than by any objective “facts” (and isn’t “facts” such a silly, old-fashioned word?) — we truly have entered a brave new world legally.

Once you start down that road, it’s a short stop to rethinking entirely the latest chapter in the Left’s despicable and un-American efforts to stifle free speech and association. I’m speaking, of course, of the lawsuit that 20 Democrat attorney generals have launched against ExxonMobile for “fraudulently” denying climate change. In the course of this litigation, the same attorney generals are attacking any conservative institutions that are speaking out against these Stasi tactics:

[U]nder the pretext of combatting fraud, these officials, clothed in immense power, have started what can only be termed a campaign of intimidation against businesses and organizations advocating a thoughtful, cautious approach to public policies dealing with man’s role in impacting the global climate.

Begun by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and followed-on by California AG Kamala Harris, this effort started by looking at the efforts of ExxonMobil in dealing with proposals that would have a tremendous impact on the energy sector in the United States. Among their concerns were the research and education organizations that ExxonMobil may have supported.

Schneiderman and Harris were soon joined by another eighteen attorneys general — and when this effort was questioned by CEI’s Hans Bader in January, CEI found itself to be the target!

Last week, Claude Walker, the AG for the U.S. Virgin Islands, subpoenaed the donor records for CEI — sending a clear signal to both CEI and its donors that such dissent simply will not be tolerated.

Let’s be clear here: Exxon has a fundamental right to support whatever non-profit organizations it wants to, and to do so privately. CEI has a right to accept donations from any U.S. Citizen or U.S. company it wants to. Both have the right to keep their donations private, a right that is protected under the First Amendment, and enshrined in the Supreme Court’s 1957 NAACP v. Alabama decision.

As it happens, after practicing law for almost three decades, I know a little bit about fraud: A fraud claim requires some semblance of objective fact as the standard by which to measure the defendant’s actionable deviation from those facts. Thus, an essential element in any fraud claim is the existence of a “material fact” as to which the defendant lied.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the we had a three way tie for first place between Caroline Glick’s Obama’s Political Legacy submitted by The Noisy Room, Andrew McCarthy’s piece in Pajamas Media Pay Attention! While Primaries Distract, Obama Shreds Constitutional Governance submitted by Nice Deb , and David P. Goldman (AKA Spengler) with To be kind is to be cruel, to be cruel is to be kind submitted by Bookworm Room .

According to our bylaws, on such occasions I get to put on my Watcher’s hat and break the tie, which in this case means I have two Council members peeved at me instead of just one. Well, they don’t pay me the big bucks for nothing…

David Goldman’s ‘To Be Kind is To Be Cruel’ is yet another one of Spengler’s masterful pieces. His take on how Islamofascism uses the West’s humane impulses against it to intimidate and ultimately subjugate it as well as how to combat this tactic should be required reading for anyone at all interested in turning this tide and saving our freedom. I had no problem picking it as this weeks’ winner in our non-Council category.

Here are this week’s full results: Fausta and Puma By Design were unable to vote this week, but were either unaffected or not subject to our usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting. Two other members voted partially, one whom picked only a first choice in both categories and another who did not pick a second choice in the Council category.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?

Posted in American Culture, Politics, Watchers Council, Writing | Leave a comment

Our Watcher’s Council Nominations — ‘Trust Me’ Edition

The Watcher’s Council

If President Barack Hussein Obama says something…need I finish that sentence?

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere, and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

So, let’s see what we have for you this week….

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that!And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!

Posted in American Culture, Politics, Watchers Council, Writing | Leave a comment

Video: Counter-Crybully Strategy in Action

Attack-of-Crybullies

How to end the unlawful crybully occupation: We “will never receive a list of demands.”

Via Debra Heine:

Ohio State Vice President Jay Kasey paid the protesters a visit shortly after the occupation began, with a message from the president. “Dr. Drake will never receive a list of demands and he will not negotiate with you,” Kasey calmly informed the group before moving on to the next part of his conversation, which included the university’s own list of demands.

Read more at NRO …

Posted in Active Measures, American Culture, Bill of Rights, Calumny, Communism, Crime, Cultural Marxism, Democrats, DNC, Education, elitism, Fascism, House of Representatives, Ideological Subversion, Indoctrination, Islam, Legal/Judicial, Main-Stream Media, Marxism, Mob Action, Operant Conditioning, opinion, Politics, Prejudice, Progressive Movement, Psychological Warfare, Rank Stupidity, Social Engineering, Social Justice, Socialism, Taxation, Totalitarianism, Tyranny, U.S. Constitution | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Watcher’s Council Nominations — Virtual Reality Edition

The Watcher’s Council

Obama-Virtual-Reality-POTUS

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere, and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

So, let’s see what we have for you this week …

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that!And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!

Posted in American Culture, Politics, Watchers Council, Writing | Leave a comment

Cuban Journalists: Obama’s Conduct ‘Pathetic,’ ‘Humiliating’ … But Visit a ‘Great Victory’ for Cuba

Obama-Cuba-Mad-What-Me-Worry

Via MEMRITVVideos:

Cuban journalists, asked by the Lebanese Mayadeen TV channel to sum up President Obama’s visit to their country, were very critical of the U.S. president, accusing him of trying to stir up rebellion and “to pit the government and the people against each other.” Journalist Rosa Miriam Elizalde said that the visit was a great victory for Cuba because it was the U.S. – and not Cuba – that had changed its rhetoric and position. Journalist Iroel Sanchez, who described Obama’s use of Cuban-Spanish words as “pathetic,” concluded that relations with the U.S. would not change Cuba’s anti-imperialistic culture. The interview aired on April 3.

Che-Guevara-on-Blacks-Quote

Posted in Active Measures, American Culture, American Diplomacy, American Sovereignty, Bill of Rights, Communism, Cultural Marxism, Democrats, DNC, elitism, First Amendment, Foreign Policy, GOP, History, House of Representatives, Ideological Subversion, Immigration, Indoctrination, Legal/Judicial, Main-Stream Media, Marxism, National Defense, National Security, Politics, Progressive Movement, Senate, Social Engineering, Social Justice, Socialism, Terrorism, Totalitarianism, Tyranny, U.S. Constitution | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

China Removes 2000 Crosses from Churches in Effort to Eradicate Christianity

Communism, where only the State is god.

Via Young Cons:

More than two thousand crosses have now been forcefully removed from churches as part of a government campaign to regulate “excessive religious sites”.

The nation’s leadership launched the crusade to eradicate Christianity in the coastal province of Zhejiang almost two years ago.

Several members of the public have since been arrested for attempting to halt the government’s crude attempt to suppress the Christian faith.

h/t: Weasel Zippers

Posted in Active Measures, American Diplomacy, Bible, Bill of Rights, Calumny, Christianity, Communism, Cultural Marxism, First Amendment, Foreign Policy, Ideological Subversion, Indoctrination, Marxism, Politics, Prejudice, Psychological Warfare, Religion, Social Engineering, Social Justice, Socialism, Totalitarianism, Tyranny, U.S. Constitution | Tagged | Leave a comment

Video: Mark Steyn Blisters Leftists Who Mocked Victims of Muslim Rape Gangs

Mark Steyn delivers withering assault against pro mass immigration liberals who openly mocked the young victims of gang rape by Muslim migrants in Europe.

Read more at Jihad Watch …

Posted in Active Measures, American Culture, American Diplomacy, American Sovereignty, Bible, Bill of Rights, Border Control, Calumny, Christianity, Communism, Conservatism, Crime, Cultural Marxism, Democrats, DNC, Economy, elitism, Fascism, First Amendment, Foreign Policy, GOP, House of Representatives, Ideological Subversion, Immigration, Indoctrination, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Legal/Judicial, Main-Stream Media, Marxism, Mob Action, Muslim Brotherhood, National Defense, National Security, Neoconservatism, Obama Lies, Operant Conditioning, opinion, Politics, Prejudice, Progressive Movement, Psychological Warfare, Qur'an, Religion, RNC, Self Defense, Senate, Social Engineering, Social Justice, Socialism, Terrorism, Theocracy, Totalitarianism, Tyranny, U.S. Constitution, United Nations | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment