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A. Thomas RSS Feed (San Diego, CA)
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KENWOOD TM-281A VHF FM TRANSCEIVER 64WTS. TM 281A
KENWOOD TM-281A VHF FM TRANSCEIVER 64WTS. TM 281A
Offered by GigaParts
Price: $165.00
10 used & new from $150.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Product of the Year! Simple, Durable, Powerful, Cheap...Winner!, July 1, 2014
If you are new to HAM, and are looking for a Mobile or Home VHF Radio (transceiver), I highly recommend this one. In fact, I recomend this over a handheld as your first radio, even though I guess you can get a Chinese handheld for a lot cheaper.

The biggest benefit of of this Kenwood VHF is the simple, easy to use buttons and menu system... to USE BY HAND! Everybody wants a wiz-bang, quad-band, micro-sized handheld transceiver to start with... until they realize that programming them by hand is NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE! So then you have to buy cables, software, hook it up to a notebook computer, blah blah blah... every single time you want to change something... total failure for a new user, trying to get on the air and enjoy HAM, IMO!

I say go with a simple mobile radio like this one to start with... single band 2 meter will work just fine... very few people work on 440mhz, and every repeater out there has a 2 meter segment, so why spend twice the money and twice the complexity on a dual band mobile radio when you don't need that second frequency!?

I have one of these in the truck, which only cost me the addition of a $25 mag-mount antenna/cable... total deal! I have another one in the house as my base station, which cost me an additional $100 power adapter, $40 worth of cabling, $120 worth of antenna, and $70 worth of antenna tripod base and three-section mast (Ouch!). Though pricey, I really enjoy being able to reach out 100 miles to adjacent counties, island and even to Mexico with my pricey home-base 2 meter-only solution from the comfort of my own home. But I digress! To start with, I vote install one of these in the vehicle for an absolutely reliable, highly durable, "always got it available" emergency communications solution.

You can always then easily buy a $35 BaoFeng UV-5R Chinese handheld (with programming cable... you'll need it!) add a $25 roll-up Slim Jim /J-pole antenna from Nelson_Antennas on Ebay, and have a usable in-home system for local repeaters, as well as a handheld for the field.

73's! K6POW


MeadTrapper Keeper, 1.5 Inches, Sewn Binder, Black (72173)
MeadTrapper Keeper, 1.5 Inches, Sewn Binder, Black (72173)
Price: $15.55

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars South Park's Favorate School Binder, 10 years ago!, July 1, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There are a lot of options for school binders/organizers in this price point. Most of them come from the same company: MEAD. The Trapper-Keeper, Like the Five-Star Products, are from MEAD. The biggest benefit of the Trapper-Keeper is the speed in which you can open and close it. One surprisingly durable snap both opens and closes the flap with very little effort from wherever you grab it. The effort required to open and close the snap was so light, I was a bit concerned regarding it's ability to hold under stress... not to worry! I loaded it up with a few 3-ring binders (160 sheets total) and tossed it up in the air a few times. The snap stayed closed upon impact! It should survive reasonable use by kids, though the internal pages will still be subject to dirt and liquid since the top and bottom is of the binder is open to the elements.

A second lessor benefit of the Trapper-Keeper is the clear sheet-protector on the outside snap/side. I guess it would be useful for a class schedule ... but ah... otherwise, it's probably just going to be utilized for vanity photos by kids, and the only full-sheet sized flap storage area on the binder. I noticed it was streaked by whatever I had on my fingers for lunch, so that clear sheet will probably get pretty nasty quick with the boy-children... just saying!

That is about where the comparative benefits of the Trapper Keeper end, and the reason why you should look toward the other MEAD products begins. Unlike the Trapper-Keeper, The Five-Star products have some significantly beneficial features such as full zipper closures, varying sizes including 1", 1.5" and 2" binding, numerous useful internal and external pockets for storing pens, change, calculators and ID, and even compact handles on the spine for easy vertical carrying.

Honestly, the Trapper-Keeper is and aging product that has been eclipsed soundly by other MEAD products. The only thing the Trapper-Keeper really still has going for it, and always will, is the 4th Season South Park's Episode where Cartman's Trapper-Keeper is actually an advanced alien life-form, "The Dawson's Creek Trapper-Keeper 2000". Funny Stuff! Just saying "Trapper-Keeper" still brings a smile to my face due to that episode, but for my money, I'm going with the Five-Star Products!

http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/103945/some-kind-of-genius
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 21, 2014 3:49 PM PDT


Dasani DROPS, Pink Lemonade, 1.9 Fl Oz
Dasani DROPS, Pink Lemonade, 1.9 Fl Oz
Price: $3.48

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice flavor, can be stretched to 64 servings. Very low cost if you drink "free" water. compared to bottled alternatives., June 24, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I received this for free for review from Review via Amazon's Vine Program. I have no alliance to Dasini (Coca-Cola), other than feeling that their bottled water product is the best tasting "lower cost" bottled water I have found on the shelves.

This is the first time I have used one of these flavor additive bottles. I always thought they were a bit too pricey, especially since I was a bit skeptical of their claim of "32 Servings" (what if it really resulted in only 16 servings... that would be over .20 per serving!)

So, I was happy to have scored this for free, so I could give it a try.

When it came it, like another reviewer here, I noticed that it is impossible to dispense it in "Drops". I guess that is just a marketing rhyming thing for their name... turns out that is no big deal.

I couldn't figure out how much to use in 16oz, so I did some "scientific" experimentation for the benefit of having something useful to share with you for this review: here is what I came up with:

Each of the designated 32 Servings equal an approximate two-second stream of moderate squeeze force (it took me four cycles of emptying and refilling the bottle to figure that one out for you!)

Each one of those servings is 8oz with water, so 16oz would be a four second stream, 12oz would be a three second stream, etc (1 second per four ounces, got it? You'd think they would have done us the favor of suggesting that mix method, rather than just suggesting we use 1/3 tsp... honestly, who wants to break out a 1/3tsp from the drawer and have to rinse it off every time they make a drink, especially if you are on the run?)

They did however get their definition of a serving mixture about right: It is just as strong, if not a bit stronger than the ICE drinks, or the Costco "Sparkling" equivalent, but those cost $0.60 and $0.30 each in bulk from Costco, whereas the cost of this drink, for 16oz, is about $0.15. For those that like a less stronger flavoring, they can cut the strength of the mix in half (which I tested, and found okay, especially when ice cold), making for a very inexpensive $0.07 per 16oz drink, using free water).

So, price/value-wise, it really comes down to if you can live with the taste, and whether or not you are paying for the water you drink. If you are buying even Costco bottled water, which is $0.12 each, plus your State's CRV, if any (in CA, it's $0.05 per bottle!), then the price for this drink is almost the same as buying the Costco "Sparkling" drinks, which come in three variety of flavors, each of which I feel are significantly better tasting than this Pink Lemonade mix. Go that route if you are buying bottles of liquid at Costco anyway. But... if you are not paying much for water, such as either drinking decent tap water, or getting free bottled water from your employer, or are logistically limited and can not carry ore-flavored water with you, then this product makes for a very good deal if you like the taste.

I'm taking one point off for a bit of lack-luster taste... it's kind of "flat" tasting. Not too bad mind you... I can live with it! I like it! I like this product enough that I will be looking to purchase their other flavors once I run out of this one. And that is the best real recommendation I think I could possible give!


Hot Headz Cool Downz Cool Down All Day , American Flag
Hot Headz Cool Downz Cool Down All Day , American Flag
Price: $7.19
10 used & new from $2.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow... WOW! I should have been using these years ago!, June 22, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
First day of summer in San Diego... full schedule of Urban Farming (building chicken coops) out in the sun. I usually go with a simple hat in colder weather, and step it up to a Halo headband for cooling/sweat management in hotter weather. Then this showed up in the mailbox from the Vine Product Review Program before I left for the farm. I followed the easy instructions and then threw it around my neck... WOW! not only did it stay cool for hours in 85 degree weather in direct sunlight, but the cooling effect is a brilliant idea... it's primary cooling sections are located directly over the carotid arteries ... keeping your brain cool! These work amazing well... far better than I would have ever expected... I'm sold for life!

My five star review is not influenced by the fact that I received this free for a product review (I hammer bad products all the time!)... I'm ordering up a spare one for myself right now, and two for my girlfriend, who has trouble in the heat due to a past heat injury in Moab UT...these are a must have secret for outdoor work and play!


Motion Pro 08-0471 Bead Buddy II
Motion Pro 08-0471 Bead Buddy II
Price: $13.01
52 used & new from $8.87

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay, I must be a moron... how do you use this thing???, June 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
30 years of changing enduro tires at home and in the middle of nowhere in the CA Desert and I couldn't figure out a single method of using this tool that was of any significant benefit whatsoever. There are no instructions included with the tool, other than a photo of it lying on top of a tire/rim, and a single sentence of how it is used to push the bead down opposite of the side you are spooning. Ya... good luck with that without access to the internet to find a third party video of how it is designed to be used! Once I found a video online, I realized that there is really no practical need for this tool. So long as you press your deflated tire's sidewall toward the drop center, oposite of where you are spooning the bead on or off of the rim, you will be good to go. I have never had a problem with tire beads "slipping" on or off rims, and you will create much more "slack" in the tire bead to assist spooning by using your hand and body weight, than this nicely annodized tool..

Don't get me wrong... the Motion Pro Team puts out great products and there are certainly plenty of my fellow bike wrenchers here that say this thing is great for them, but until Motion Pro includes a detailed schematic diagram in the box, showing how to actually install and use this, I vote that those with I.Q.'s lower than 150 (like me) hold off on buying one! I'm sending mine back, and swapping it out for another one of Motion Pro's great Spoon tire irons! If MP DOES include instructions and I just got stiffed by my reseller (the top of the box WAS open when I got it), please include a link to the PDF doc and I will revise my rating # upward to reflect my misunderstanding/mistake. Feel free to comment/make usage suggestions, as I am always willing to learn new things! (so long as those usage suggestions do not include inserting this where the sun doesn't shine... I have that skill down already! ;-) )

- Keep the shinny side up!


Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator, 2 Roller System, 16.06 x 4.25 x 4.96 Inches
Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator, 2 Roller System, 16.06 x 4.25 x 4.96 Inches
Price: $68.99
23 used & new from $47.77

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great SOHO system!, June 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Easy to setup, easy to use, easy to find supplies down at the office supply stores. It's been chugging along now for almost a year with no problems and is quite flexible in is sizing options to save on materials cost.


Ruffwear Hoopie Collar
Ruffwear Hoopie Collar
Price: $19.53 - $19.95

5.0 out of 5 stars 10 years and 7 dogs later, I am finally repacing them with new ones!, June 18, 2014
This review is from: Ruffwear Hoopie Collar
I have been running the earlier versions of Ruffwear's Hoopie collars (no stripe, round D-Ring, lessor buckle) on my three and my girlfriends 4 dogs (border-collie, cattle-dog, bull-terrier/cattle-dog, lab/border-collie, malinois, pit-bull & American bulldog). These are all rough and tumble breeds, most of them with big attitudes when on a walk, hike, hearding sheep & cows, and swimming in the lake and bay. These collars have gone the distance, while the lower cost collars I've picked up at the local big-box pet stores have all ended up breaking the buckles sooner or later. I am hear writing this review because after 10 years of daily use, I am replacing one of them because the red color has finally gone pink (which doesn't go well with my Male Pitbull!), and another one, attached to my 100+ lb American Bulldog (monster puller), has finally started to give up the first row of the double stiching (I know I could send it back to Ruffwear and they would either fix it for send me a new one for free, but that is now how I roll... I've gotten good use out of it, so I'll just order another one!).

Ruffwear's Collars, Leashes and harnesses are top notch products that I have field tested for years with my brutish pack of mongruls in environments that most dog owners would not dare tread. Nothing but Ruffwear for my fur-kids!


3M 03209 Clean Sand Kit, incl. assorted pack of abrasives
3M 03209 Clean Sand Kit, incl. assorted pack of abrasives
Price: $26.66
2 used & new from $12.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for my Jeep truck-bed liner project!, June 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I decided to truck-bed line my Jeep. On the first day, I just used a hand sanding block without a vacuum. After spending a half an hour coughing up paint in the shower that night, I recalled that I received this Sand Kit for Eval a few months beforehand! I taped it up to my shop vac and presto, no my breathing in particulates! This is definitely worth while to use for a day-long sanding project that involves non-organics that you don't want to be breathing into your lungs!


AmazonBasics AA Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries (4-Pack) - 1000 Cycle (Typical 2000mAh, Minimum 1900mAh)
AmazonBasics AA Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries (4-Pack) - 1000 Cycle (Typical 2000mAh, Minimum 1900mAh)
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great rechargable Ni-Mh AA, and they come charged!, June 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I use these in my portable fire agency scanner which I have in my truck. I switch between running the scanner plugged in and charging, and unplugged and draining. I've been doing that for six months strait now and they are still going strong and still test at full load capability with my volt meter. Considering the "true" number of charging cycles available from L-ion rechargables, these are a very good deal!


Yamaha 2LN135860100 Carburetor Joint
Yamaha 2LN135860100 Carburetor Joint
Offered by Mr. Repairo
Price: $40.97
2 used & new from $40.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, this is the correct intake manifold for the XT225, June 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
FYI: It does not include the rubber o-ring gasket, nor the rubber cap & clamp for the test valve. And it of course doesn't include the allen-head bolts and washer to hold it onto the head, nor the joint clamp (clamping band) to hold it onto the carb.

Oh, the torque value for the two bolts holding this onto the head is 8.7 ft-lbs (12 Nm) DON"T OVER TIGHTEN THIS! (FYI, This is according to the Factory Service Manual, which is currently in my hands).

Happy Trails!


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