you have a spare computer kicking around the shack with idle down time, you can put it to use to help various scientific projects (SETI
being the most famous). Berkley University has a free program called "BOINC" you can check out. My laptop is crunching
data for the Einstein@Home group which is searching for gravity wave emissions from compact spinning objects (such as pulsars). Einstein
predicted them over 100 years ago, but gravity waves were only observed & confirmed in 2015 (Scientific American). Now,
is there a "graviton" particle to go with the gravity wave or not?
20 April 2018
NOAA-15, the "grand old lady" of APT satellites,
is showing signs that her nearly 20 years (in May) of 24/7 continous scanning of the earth's surface from low earth orbit, is
nearing the end. Built for a two-year mission, she has exceed all expectations & then some. NOAA believes a scanning motor
is having lubrication problems & is working on the problem to see if it can be remotely corrected. We still have NOAA-15's much
younger "siblings" (NOAA-18 & NOAA-19) so the loss of one is acceptable. In the early 21st century, NOAA had predicted that
by year 2015 only one analog APT "bird" would still be operating, but no one seems to have told "them" about this!
Added my Mar-Apr 2018 TCA column (ATD033) support files to the All Things Digital section. I've
started a series of Pixie 2 QRPp transceiver related articles. Just how low in price can the Chinese Pixie kits get? Less than 3 USD
for my latest online search.
03 January 2018
Got me a new old refurb (2010) Intel I7 with 16 GB RAM for Xmas & dumped the
preloaded & just horrid W10 for W7. After putting up with that monstrosity for 18 months (only Millenium was worse, but just), I
had had enough. Forgot just how good, solid, reliable & a real pleasure to use W7 was/is & all my perfectly fine older
software & hardware which W10 wouldn't support runs just fine, once again. The I7 allowed me to take all the programs &
hardware spread across 3 dual core computers & mash it all together on the one desktop with lots of horsepower to spare.
Even an old I7 can "smoke" a modern I5 in cost & performance.
UIVIEW was also dumped & I setup an Arduino Uno based
APRS I-Gate using an Ethernet shield, plus Argent Data APRS/packet radio & Adafruit LCD shields. All the parts had been collecting
dust for a few years & since I was rebuilding the main system, why not learn a bit about networking a Duino, too? The only issue
was fixing some minor source code bugs. The gadget plugs into the station router & connects to the APRS-IS. APRS
audio is received from an FT8900 (AF out) which monitors 144.390 MHz 24/7.
30 December 2017
Added my Jan-Feb 2018 TCA column
(ATD032) & support files to the All Things Digital section.
And "HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
28 October 2017
Cobweb antenna & new MX-P50M RF power amplifier (see eBay) with my Flex-1500 SDR. It's in the same shape &
style, just slightly smaller. The two match nicely, esthetically speaking. Sometimes 5 watts just isn't enough (especially with FT8)
so having a "boot" helps during the solar cycle doldrums & it isn't going to get any better till well after 2020. The
amp is convection cooled & 100% duty cycle modes gets it very hot (over 50 C @ 50% power) but that's normal without
an external cooling fan for such a small aluminum housing/heat sink to dissipate heat on its own. There isn't much
technical information about it online & no documentation comes with, but it's fairly easy to figure out how to use. Included
are a fused power cable plus unterminated PTT wires with the connectors needed to hookup either an FT-817 (8-pin mini-DIN) or
KX3 (2.5 mm TRS plug). Had to use a male DB9 to connect to the Flex's "FlexWire" port (PTT out & ground, pins 3
a 93-year young Amateur on FT8. Antenna restrictions make digital modes only real option for him to active & stay on the air.
You need a spry mind to keep up with FT8 QSOs because it's like a continuous contest or "sprint" because of the
fast two-way QSOs & trying to keep up with properly logging contacts because the eQSL card request rates are crazy high for
the new mode.
16 October 2017
Added the last of year 2016 revised & reissued releases of my past columns (ATD024, 025
and 026) plus support files to the All Things Digital section.