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, but it also appears
(in my images) that one channel's sensors aren't switching over properly in the late afternoon and/or early twilight. NOAA is
working on the problem to see if it can be remotely corrected, but we still have NOAA-15's younger "siblings" (NOAA-18 &
NOAA-19). 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!
26 February 2018
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
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
Testing MFJ 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 & 5).
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.