Friday, December 29, 2017

American Airlines will fly to Bonaire from Miami

Getting to Bonaire just got much easier.  American Airline will begin a direct flight to Bonaire each Saturday, beginning in June.  You can read all about it in this article on the Bonaire Insider.
We always make every effort to do a direct flight whenever we need to travel to or from Bonaire.  Now one can fly direct to Bonaire from Houston, Newark Atlanta, Miami, and Toronto.  Pretty cool.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Fire at TWR's USA Office

A fire broke out at the Cary office early this morning. Thankfully, nobody was in the building at the time, and there were no injuries.  You can read about it here.
And learn more about it here.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Solarcan Day

December 21 has been special for centuries, make that millennia, and has had a number of names.  Well now, Nerds around the world think of Dec. 21 as solar can day, the optimum day to set up your super long exposure pinhole camera.  Our son, Richard gave us a bunch of them and Kevin Baker helped me mount two at the TWR transmitter site this morning.  One is facing South like most Solarcan users do, and the second one is facing West.

The shutters are open and we'll leave them in place for a number of months, maybe all the way till the other Solarcan day, June 21.

Today, the Sun will set at the extreme left side of the top picture.  On June 21, it will set over the white building near the right side of the horizon in that picture.

You can read amore bout the clever Solarcan device here.

Below is a shot of the South facing can in place.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

"Dog Tired"

In the picture of the thee tires. The small one on the right is the type of toy that all our other dogs have played with. We accidentally got the larger one in the middle a while back, and gave it to Coco. It turns out that he loved it. We've since gotten him a few more... they last about six months before he chews them up.

So as an early Christmas present, I gave him the really large tire on the left, that I just took off our trailer. He thinks it is great. He likes to shake it to death and also toss it in the air and try to catch it. He succeeds once in the attached video clip.

Gemini Meteors were Great

The Gemini meteors were great last night. There were clouds, but in between the clouds, the sky was super clear. Here is a picture of a meteor zooming past the Andromeda Galaxy and a picture of a meteor zooming past the Pleiades.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Small Magellanic Cloud

We have had really clear moonless skies at night this week, for the first time since we returned to Bonaire in August.  I zoomed out to Red Slave to see if I could capture the Small Magellanic Cloud dwarf galaxy.  It is at its highest point, five degrees above the horizon, around 8pm this week.
I shot a bunch of 5 second long exposures with an 85mm lens at f2, and combined them on the computer.  Stacking a bunch of frames averages out the random noise but keeps the stars.

The SMC is the elongated light-ish blob more or less in the middle of the picture.  The bright "star" to its right is actually a globular cluster, 47 Tucanae.  I couldn't see either of them with the naked eye that night, so you can imagine how dim the SMC is, and how effective the camera is a collecting pixels.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

New Transmitter is on Bonaire

Trans World Radio's new transmitter has made it safely to Bonaire!

I'm not sure when it will actually make it to the TX site.

There is paperwork to process still.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Handel's Messiah Live Concert on Radio and Internet

On Saturday afternoon, we’ll be broadcasting a live presentation of Handel’s Messiah from Duke University in North Carolina, on our Bonaire FM station. Other TWR sites around the world will be broadcasting this concert, as well as a Friday evening performance that we aren't airing here on Bonaire.

Here on Bonaire pre-concert stuff will probably start tomorrow around 2:30 in the afternoon on 89.5 FM, The Voice of Hope. The concert itself will start around 3pm Bonaire time.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Lunar Time Lapse

The International Space Station was scheduled to pass in  front of the Sun as seen from our backyard, here on Bonaire, at 8:45 this morning.  Unfortunately the skies are very cloudy today, so we weren't able to check it out.
The cloudy and windy weather does make for comfortable living and working conditions, so I'm not complaining. (much)
So in place of pictures of the ISS and the Sun, here is a short time lapse of the moon rising behind the TWR antenna towers.
The moon is midway between the two right hand towers.  It starts behind some clouds and eventually becomes visible.  After you watch the clip the first time, you'll be able to spot the moon more quickly the next time around.
The clip is made up from 260 images, take over 44 minutes on November 2.  I was busy getting  our pickup un-stuck from the mud while the camera was making many of the exposures.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

"New car" whoo whoo

We just got a new used car.  It is ten year old Suzuki Grand Vitara. 

It only has 43K miles on it and was meticulously maintained.

We had our previous 1991 model Suzuki Samurai for 23 years and I still see it on the road here, so we have high hopes for this one.

Sandra and Coco gave the inside their stamp of approval.  Now the squeaky clean upholstery has dirty dog footprints all over it..

Full Moon at the Office

I shot a few images of the full moon rising over the TWR offices and studios Friday evening.

My goal was a time lapse, but the moon went behind a cloud bank and stayed there.

I did get a few shots before that happened though.

Transmitter Site Sojourn

Our Bonaire technical team; Jonas, Dave and Marco, was at an orientation session at the Nautel transmitter factory in Canada this past week.  They now know our new transmitter inside and out.  That transmitter will be shortly be on its way to Bonaire, and if the guys remember all that they've learned, they should be able to zip through the installation come January.

This mass technical exodus left me in charge of the transmitter here on Bonaire.  Yikes!  So I journeyed out to the site each afternoon.
While I was out there I set the camera to taking lots of images that I might be able to merge into a time-lapse sequence.  Here are a couple teaser images.

Intense Thunder Storm

I was out at the Trans World Radio transmitter site last Sunday evening, when a humdinger of a thunder storm passed over the center of the island.

I saw a couple amazing lightning bolts that made me glad I was far far away.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Painting the new TWR Bonaire mural

Here is a time lapse sequence of the mural painting project compiled by Jonas Fischer.  It was too large a file to load here so I put it on YouTube with a link to it here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

New TWR Bonaire Mural

Here are a few pictures of the new mural at the TWR Studios / Offices on Bonaire.  I've added these to the collection of 13"x19" prints that are available at the TWR office for $20.  Half goes to my ink and paper fund and half goes to TWR.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Preview of Orion

The seasons don't change that much here on Bonaire.  But we enjoy watching the star patterns in the sky change week by week and month by month.  Winter stars are beginning to peak up over  the horizon now.  I was getting  home from the Studio a little after 11pm recently and enjoyed the sneak preview of stars that will be mainstream fare in a month or two.  By 1am, the constellation Orion is about 20 degrees above the horizon here on Bonaire, not that I'm typically awake to see it. Here is a shot of Orion and the surrounding nebulosity, made from a stack of seven images shot back in January. I processed them two different ways. Both frames are cropped some, shot with a 35mm lens on a Rebel XTi (400d).


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cuba Hurricane Report

Here is an update on the post hurricane(s) situation in Cuba, from Alberto Gonzalez, the director of our local ministry there.

‘May God help us to be faithful and steadfast in the midst of so much disaster’

The hurricane did a lot of damage in Cuba on the North Coast, from Camaguey to Havana and only now, little by little, we are actually seeing everything that happened. Many people have lost everything! The house of a pastor we visited once, was washed away by the sea and his village almost completely disappeared, although all the people were evacuated and safe.
Noise of the wind was scary
The strength of the wind and the storm surge was very impressive in Havana. There have been some landslides, many fallen trees, and all vegetation is damaged, but in reality, it was not as bad as expected.  All my family, thank the Lord, is fine and we were not affected at all by the hurricane although the noise of the wind was scary. The RTM office was not damaged in any way, except for the absence of electricity and telephone for many days.

Beautiful opportunities for churches
There are many damaged churches in Cuba in the places where the cyclone happened. But there have also been beautiful opportunities to share faith and strengthen people’s trust in the Lord. Churches have also mobilized by sending clothing, food, and help to the most affected places. It seems that although we have little, in moments like this everyone has to give and share. God is great! 

Apocalyptic times
No doubt, we are living in apocalyptic times. The coming of the Lord is soon. It was amazing to know there were so many hurricanes occurring all at once in the Caribbean and the Pacific. Yet the whole of humanity seems to live in a time of folly, corruption, selfishness and boundless disagreements. I am horrified by the news that we now see on TV, but at the same time, it keeps me firm in the Word of God: "Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming? (2 Peter 3:11-12). May God help us to be faithful and steadfast in the midst of so much disaster.

Peace in the midst of difficult days
I trust that from now on we will hear many tremendous stories, as well as testimonies of how the Lord cared for and protected his people. Despite the lack of communication for so many days, I was always sure that the family of RTM would be praying fervently for all of us and that gave us peace in the middle of the most difficult days when the threat was imminent.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

More Storm Related Broadcasts

TWR, Bonaire is doing more live hurricane related broadcasts this week on our 800AM frequency.  We're in English from 7 to 8 pm and in Spanish from 10-11 pm Bonaire time.
We are streaming it live on the "TWR-Bonaire" Facebook page too.

I'm in the studio on Bonaire and the hosts (who were all in this region back in the day) are in Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and the Dominican Republic.

Bill Early and Scott Hollinger will be hosting the English, with a visit from recording artist Babbie Mason on Friday.

Annabel Torrealba (pictured) and Jehiel Ortiz will be on in Spanish.  (Jehiel's participation will be contingent on his having power and Internet in the DR.)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Cool New Bonaire Calendars for 2018

We got Ellen's calender from 2017 for our son.  He put it in his office, except for the month that showed two frog fish doing the deed. :)
Here is a link to two Bonaire calendars for 2018 that look great to me..
I might do a Bonaire night sky calendar some year, but it won't be 2018!

Friday, September 15, 2017

TWR 360 Update

I haven't written about TWR's online media portal, TWR360, for a while.

There is audio and video content in 52 languages, from 190 ministries and churches.  (including the International Bible Church of Bonaire - search on "Doug Searle")

There were visitors from 228 countries/territories in August.  The servers were recently upgrades so the response is snappy again.

The new improved apps for Android and iOS are proving more and more popular each month.  The top 10 countries with the most app users in August were:  Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria, India, Iraq, the USA, Nepal, Morocco, Tunisia and Iran.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

News on TWR site about our special Hurricane related efforts

Good overview, complete with audio clips, on the TWR website of what we've been up to for the last week or so.  I've been working split shifts so I could help with the live Spanish programming that airs from 10 to 11pm.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Hurricane Relief

Bonaire is some 600 miles (1000km) south of the current hurricanes.  It looks like the Dutch marines have been staging some relief efforts to St. Maarten from the Flamingo Airport.  We've been using our 800AM station to broadcast news and encouragement during the night time hours.  Modern technology allows our people in the Dominican Republic, Chicago, and Cary, NC to all be on the air together live from Bonaire at the same time.

During the daytime, from 8:30am to 5:30pm, we are re-transmitting the Web feed from a radio station in St. Maartin.  Hopefully people who can't pick up the FM signal from St Maarten can hear our AM signal from Bonaire.

Here is how Bonaire station director, Bernard Oosterhoff, describes it: 
We are currently rebroadcasting the live FM broadcast of "Laser 101 FM", a station on St.Maarten.  We do this outside our regular programming during the daytyime. They have very valuable practical information e.g. about water supply, about the latest on Jose and help that is underway.  It’s a miracle they are on-air and we can get their stream, even though it’s on and off, so Brad is babysitting the stream and filling the gaps. We’re really not sure how far we reach during the day. We hope to get an indication.
We were requested by the National Crisis Center in the Netherlands to warn the people for Hurricane Jose and we recorded a weather forecast, which we air every hour.

Friday, August 25, 2017

November 2016 Supermoon Revisited

I just dug up a super moon blast from the past. Last November, we went to the south end of Bonaire to watch the Super Moon rise up behind the Willemstoren lighthouse. I used an iPad app to predict where we needed to stand so that the Moon would rise behind the lighthouse. You could have knocked me over with a feather when the Moon did exactly that, rose up right behind the lighthouse and then disappeared behind a cloud bank, grrr.

Here is a short sequence of images.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Eclipse from Bonaire

We still have our eclipse glasses from the total eclipse that we saw here on Bonaire back in the day.  So we invited a number of people to swing by the house Monday afternoon to do some eclipse gazing.  Sharing our three glasses worked fine.  Much like looking at the hands of a clock, we couldn't see the Moon's shadow actually moving across the face of the Sun, but if we checked back every five minutes or so, we could see that the shadow had indeed moved.

It was raining about an hour before eclipse time, which had me worried that we'd get clouded out, but we were able to view the whole eclipse through breaks in the clouds.  As the afternoon wound on, the skies got progressively clearer.

Below is a montage of pictures of the eclipse as seen in my C-90 telescope.  I would have liked to take the pictures at regular intervals, but was limited to the gaps in the clouds.

Below is one of the images at a larger size so you can see some of the sunspots.  The sunspots created a frame of reference that made it easy to track the progress of the shadow.

This last picture is not from Bonaire!  TWR missionaries, the Pedersens, happen to be in the States visiting their sponsors right now, and cleverly set up their travel itinerary to place them in the path of totality.  Ten year old Rachel snapped this picture of the Corona and Bailey's Beads with her trusty Canon SX30-HS camera.  Great shot Rachel!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Amazon Prime is 5% today only

I've mentioned Amazon Smile once or twice. When you buy stuff on Amazon through the Smile portal, they donate .5% of what you spend to various charities, including TWR.
Today only, they are donating 5%, not .5%, soooo, if you're planning to buy something from Amazon, do it today!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Furlough Fun

We've begun our March/April furlough with doctor visits in New Jersey.

We'll be heading to North
Carolina and Florida soon.

We're enjoying some beautiful sticky snow today.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Backward Breezes

Tuesday morning, I went for my first before-work bike ride after three weeks of bronchitis.  There was no wind and the surface of the sea was pretty smooth, even out by Tolo and Karpata.
There was breeze later in the day, but it was backwards, which seems pretty unusual for February.

The sky is very clear, which is normal for February.  The stars have looked great and Kevin Baker reported seeing a super long green flash on Monday evening.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Drink Coffee - Support Missions

Partnering with world-class roaster "Twin Valley Coffee," Coffee Helping TWR sells some of the best coffee online and donates 100% of the profits to support TWR missionaries.

 Be sure to check out Coffee Helping TWR today.

You can even click on the "support a missionary" button to designate the funds to help sponsor Sandra and me here on Bonaire.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Waynesburg University visits Bonaire

In what has become a very welcome annual tradition, a group of mostly communications majors, from Waynesburg University in Western Pennsylvania, are here on Bonaire this week to help out at TWR.

Today they are producing liners and promos for our 89.5 FM station, the Voice of Hope.  They are also preparing TWR social media posts for Twitter and Facebook, and last but not least, they attacked the grass that has been running amok in the satellite antenna enclosure here at the office.