Monday, December 31, 2007

Mission Not Accomplished

The unspoken resolution for 2007: Complete the varied radio projects without taking on new ones. Here's the list from a year ago...


  1. Fix K1 tuning - Done. Had miswired pot.

  2. Repair WBR Receiver - Done. Room for improvement.

  3. Modify HTX-100 as IF - Mostly done. Unfortunate shift in project focus.

  4. Complete ARDF receiver. Not done. Stealing parts.

  5. Build NEScaf. Done. Not fully tested.

  6. Complete SoftRock receiver - Done. Fun.

  7. Put 80m Warbler on the air - Not done. Put it in a good case, though.

  8. Reuse K1 CPU and LCD. Not done. Begun in earnest on December 31.

  9. Finish solar charge controller. Not done.


...to say nothing of antennas.

Didn't stay true to no new projects... The Maine Bug was my chief interloper. But it was quick and rewarding.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Video Formats

The WMV is here, with an attached AVI. Here is the FLV. Will update with a cleaner one ASAP.


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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Selecting tunes by habitat

Just rediscovered some notes taken after searching the Tunes section of thesession.org. Here are some tune-name tallies by habitat type:
  • Fields = 11
  • Woods = 7
  • Woodland = 1
  • Forest = 1
  • Marsh = 3
  • Ocean = 5
  • Sea = 65, but this includes Sean and Seamus hits
  • Waves = 9
  • Meadow = 15
  • Shore = 13
  • Lake = 8
  • Loch = 10
  • River = 5
  • Stream = 4
  • Brook = 6
  • Creek = 1

Keemun Hao Ya A

This China black was brought back from Post Street, Seattle, by C, who was out there sans family for a long weekend. Just ruined my final cup of it by steeping with a tea ball last used for an orange-spice black. Prior to this fiasco, it was a very fine choice.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Maine Bugs Cover?

Play-N-Squeak® Pals Firefly

Stick the kit in it?

Postscript: While we're at it, how about Gummi Lightning Bugs as a stocking stuffer?

Oh, but this Plush Wild Clingers Lightning Bug is the most realistic I've seen yet.



Postscript December 23

By way of explanation... At this year's Lobstercon, W1REX distributed the Maine Bugs kit, a nifty programmable device designed to mimic crickets and lightning bugs. Cricket chirps indicate an accurate temperature reading and the firefly flashes the callsign of the builder.

Mine was built, programmed, and modified this summer, but I wanted to find a clever way to package it. I hunted for an oversized tin insect to no avail. I followed other paths without luck.

One day last week, I moved something on the workbench and the kit hit the floor. "Alright," I grumbled, "time to button up this project." One last flurry of searches resulted in the cute toys mentioned above, but none looked like a solution. So I pulled out a Hershey's truffle tin (very much like an Altoids tin) and mounted my Maine Bug in that.

If the ideal disguise appears before my eyes, I'll consider migrating the project, but for now it's one more item off the to-do list.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

...and one for luck

This box at Atlas Quest has a hint. Try not to read this:

Date: Dec 6, 2007 8:49 PM

I would be very pleased for you to find this box. I went to the library first, but decided I wanted a truly out of sight spot. I chose another location I could walk to. Easily. On the morning of the planting, I was surprised to encounter a man flying an airplane. We didn't speak.

You know baseball. You are perhaps missing your key clue, which hinges on a detail of that sport.

I was worried that my opening lines were too cryptic. See if you still think so after you've logged in.

Monday, December 03, 2007

First satellite station

Kitchen counter with VX150, FT470, battery pack, and 8-element 70cm yagi, just after my first satellite QSO.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Kitchen Output

3 dozen chocolate chip cookies
1 loaf cranberry orange nut bread
pie crust slabs
10 octopus cookies
1 pumpkin pie
1 boiled cider pie

22 long pie pumpkin seeds
2 loads dishes. Well, sort of 2-1/2
2 ham sandwiches and 1 egg salad

(also managed to solder a feedline to the 8-element 70 cm yagi)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

1AQD / NU1AQD / W1AQD QSL Collection

My great uncle Louis C. Brown, "Brownie" in Maine, was active in amateur radio between 1927 and 1936. I have 250+ of his QSLs from United States stations and additional cards from DX hams. I will gladly provide digital images of individual QSLs for relatives or others who wish to have them for their research or records.

View Requested QSLs

Calls are listed by call area then suffix

W1ABG (2), W1ACR, NU1AHY, W1AIC, W1ALO (3), W1AMG, W1AMQ, 1AOF, W1AOT, W1APR, 1AQL, W1AQW, W1ART, W1ARW, 1AUR, W1AUR, 1AVJ, NU1BBM, W1BEF, W1BEO, W1BEU, W1BFT, W1BFZ, W1BIG, W1BIR, NU1BJC, W1BNG, 1BNL, W1BOK, W1CE, W1CIB, W1CPF, W1CQL, W1CQR, W1CTF, W1IVZ, W1KL, W1LQ, W1NS, W1QH (2), W1UR, 1VE, W1VM, W1VS, W1WV, NQ2AC, W2ACD, U2AET, W2AGI, W2AHU, W2AVO, 2AVP, W2BAK, W2BDX, NU2BHB, W2BVT, W2BXA, 2PO, NU2RK, 2WI, W3ADX, NU3AEL, NU3AEL, W3AER, W3AIA, W3AWS, 3ARC, NU3ASC, NU3BNS, W3EZR, NU3QE, NU3TR, 3AWQ, NU4ACC, NU4ADL, W4AFM, NU4AFP, 4AGE, W4AII, W4AJL, NU4CS, W4CWH, 4DS, W4HC, 4HH, W4KA, W4LY, W4MF, W4NE, W4TN, W4VX, XNUWSQ, 5ADP, 5AF, NU5AFB, 5AHX, 5AKP, 5AQT, 5ATM, NU5ATS, NU5BAT, NU5BAY, 5BBI, 5BCM, 5BH, W5EAC, W5EYR, W5FHJ, U5HE, NU5LP, 5NB, 5QQ, W5UW, W5VQ, 6ABG, 6AGR, 6AGR, 8BEJ, NU6BQ, U6ANN, NU6AOV, 6AWP, NU6AZS, 6BAM, 6BAU, 6BAX, 6BJF, 6BLP, NU6BOA, NU6BTO, W6BXL, NU6BY, NU6BY, 6COT, 6CSJ, W6CYX, 6CZC, 6CZK, 6DCV, NU6DEV, 6DGQ, 6DHQ, 6DKV, 6DNZ, 6DOU, 6DRB, W6DRB, NU6DZD, W6EGH, W6ELC, W6CHY, NU6IH, NU6JU, W6LCF, W6LMZ, NU6QY, 6TS, 6UF, U7ACB, 7ACY, 7AFO, W7AFX, 7AIJ, W7DSZ, W7EBK, W7MW, 7MX, W7PH, 8AIJ, 8ALG, 8AYL, 8CFR, W8CML, 8CPR, W8CVB, 8DDF, 8DDN, W8DEG, W8DIC, W8DJQ, W8DSF, W8DVM, W8FP, W8RF, W8SF, W8WG, W9ABD, 9ACL, W9ACU, NU9AEX, 9ANB, W9ANR, W9AQD, W9ASL, W9BBS, NU9BGA, 9BPW, 9CJC, W9CKU, W9CKV, 9CRD, NU9CUH, W9CVP, 9CWR, 9CZW, 9DLL, 9DOP, NU9DWA, NU9DWS, W9EBP, 9EDE, U9EFW, U9ELJ, W9ENT, 9EVC, 9EXS, 9EYQ, 9FER, W9FG, W9FGN, W9FHV, 9FHY, W9FIS, 9FOI, 9FXR, W9IVD, 9KB, W9KCJ, W9KTZ, W9OGB, W9PRI, NU9PV, W9PZI, W9RDP, NU9GV, W9RGE, W9RGE, NU9SI, W9SQU, 9SS, W9SVU, W9TVU, W9TCE, W9UAZ, W9UJS, W9VHR, W9WDU, 9WO

Trivia


  • W1AQD was the first U.S. station to work England (G2OD) on 10 meters.

  • 1AQD's method for controlling regeneration was published as a Stray on page 20 of the April 1928 QST.

  • In the section "Operating a Station" in The Radio Amateur's Handbook, Sixth Edition (1929), W1AQD is the callsign used to demonstrate use of the prosign AR.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

one laptop per child

We have joined the movement. Something potentially so significant was too appealing to let pass. We'll see how it goes.

While OLPC has a presence throughout the world, with official partnerships and various pilot programs, this exclusive North American Give One Get One program will specifically benefit Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti and Rwanda. We are currently in discussions with other interested countries and may be adding more...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Common Redpoll, chin hidden

Common Redpoll without an obvious black chin patch (at this angle).

Leap in the Yard Year List

[acidfree:168 align=right]
Twenty-seven Canada Geese flying south-southwest, high up, with only an occasional honk.

High, too, but soaring: Red-tailed Hawk.

And a redpoll at the feeder.

Three firsts for the 2007 yard list in the course of two hours. Brings it to 88.

Common Redpoll

A Common Redpoll was on the feeder around 10 am on Nov 10. Ate for a few minutes. Not seen again.

Hours earlier I had walked outside and seen a bird on the same perch. I was surprised it did not fly. I made it out to be a goldfinch at the time. Maybe it was. Or maybe it was this bird.

Previous redpoll sightings in the yard were January 23, 2000 (2 feeding under burning bush beside driveway), and January 8, 2006 (6+? with goldfinches, briefly, in the top of the spruce).

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Yat-Kha, ReCovers

Albert Kuvezin & Yat-Kha, Re-Covers

[acidfree:167 align=left]Caught the tail end of Black Magic Woman on KCRW and wanted to go back to the beginning. Fascinating selections on this disk. Worth a try.

Postscript 20080111:"When the Levee Breaks" proves right up front the worth of this wished item. Genuine. Full of surprise. Highly engaging. Tnx SLM.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Easy Sat?

The AO-51 monthly schedule ought to come in handy, once the control team news is better.

Unbeknownst to me as I finally purchased my first 70 cm rig (FT-470 dualbander, actually), intended for use in making my first 2-way satellite contact, the only remaining satellite I've got a reasonable chance of using had hiccuped 24 hours before I brought the rig home from NEAR-Fest.

At 1848Z 11 OCT over Europe, the software on AO-51 crashed, shutting down both transmitters. Subsequently the repeater and BBS will be down for several days while the command stations reload.


Bad luck.

Patience, old man, patience. It's been more than three decades since the first desire, you can wait a few more days.

Postscript November 4

AO-51 is back to life, though I haven't heard QSOs on every suitable pass.

AO-27 and SO-50 are possibilities, too! I thought the former was no longer operational and the latter simply didn't come to my attention sooner. (Seems like a lot of "easy sat" articles and attention on the web from 2002 through 2004, but little to no updating since then. Not sure why.)

Satscape and Heavens Above are very handy and cool.

A gain antenna for receive will be necessary. The popular (legendary?) Arrow II would be nice, but a simple 70 cm yagi might be adequate.

Postscript November 28

I opted to build an 8-element 435 MHz yagi based on WA5VJB's design, using bronze welding rod ($3) and a wood boom ($0). After days and days of practicing with it, tracking passes for 10 minutes or more, I gained the courage to make a call. The intended station didn't reply, but someone else did and we exchanged grids for that long-awaited first QSO, just before I lost the satellite to the horizon. Tnx, K8YSE!

Now that I know it works, I'm ready for more. Gonna hafta find a place other than the kitchen, though. (That's where the 7/8-wavelength 2-meter vertical on the roof terminates.)

Postscript December 3

The kitchen is still working out pretty well. I've now managed to complete exchanges with stations on each of the three easy satellites and the grid square total is rising.

Some station changes are still needed. I learned how difficult it can be to aim a yagi with one hand, press a PTT switch with another hand, and make log entries with a third hand. Now I understand why folks record passes on tape or digitally!

My next challenge was figuring out how to get Logbook of the World to accept my ACLog entries. Now that's done. I needed to label ACLog "Other" fields correctly (per AMSAT News Service):
  • PROP_MODE (SAT is the appropriate entry)
  • SAT_NAME (don't forget the hyphens, e.g., AO-27)
  • BAND_RX (70CM)


It worked. Pse QSL.

Postscript 2 years later

Inserted CM after 70 for BAND_RX.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Jennifer Gentle, The Midnight Room

Claudia played a track this morning (after Simpson's soundtrack and Sweetgrass) and it caught my ear. Hoping the rest is as engaging.

They'll be in Portland September 1 at 10pm.

He/They.

UPDATE: Tnx SLM. This one is an occasional listen, singles stronger than the whole. Details next time.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Modem Speaker Second Life?

Advice from Matthew Ratcliff in ANTIC VOL. 7, NO. 1 / MAY 1988 / PAGE 26, as reproduced at AtariMagazines.com.

2400-BAUD SPEEDSTERS

If you truly have "the need for speed" online, shop for a good 2400 baud modem. Prices are coming down to the $200 range.


It was the only result for a Google search on "use a modem speaker," which was among several attempts to find out if it makes sense to scavenge the speaker from a 56k US Robotics modem.

Friday, July 13, 2007

You have the con

Thanks to the Nautical Dictionary at seatalk.info, I've found the meaning of "You have the con." I thought of Spock first (and, distantly, Mr. Caul, my role in Mike McIntosh's Star Trek take-off, which I've never seen as a whole). Sulu, the Doctor, Scotty, and others turn up in a search for the phrase.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

FM DX

Listening to Maine Public Radio on 90.1 while driving home, signal choppy till the driveway when another station took over. Turns out to have been Native American Calling, which on that frequency would seem to be KILI (kee-lee) radio in Porcupine, South Dakota. Station guide suggests that's not the right time for NAC broadcast, but Harlan was taking calls at an originating station in New Mexico and there's certainly nothing like that on MPR.

Web search got me to the TVFM Skip Log!, where E skip was delivering decent DX to listeners and watchers, though not much reported on the southern Maine to South Dakota path (10 July @ 2330Z).

Wish I had a 6-meter rig.

UPDATE 20080814: A year later I was able to pick up a TenTec 1208 transverter for a decent price and it works well with my K1. For the past month I've been listening to 50 MHz almost daily and timed it right for a few openings. Three and a half decades hamming and I finally have some 6-meter QSOs in the log!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Batwatch 120mA

Clever device for measuring volts and amps while charging battery via VW solar panel.

Attached program from Dick Streefland

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Realistic HTX-100

The 30th Annual Conference of the Central States VHF Society was held July 26-28, 1996 at the Thunderbird Hotel & Convention Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. Among the papers presented was Make Your HTX-100 a Flexible IF Transceiver by Rus Healy, NJ2L (now K2UA).

What Country?



Extra credit for finer geographic detail.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mocean Worker, Cinco de Mowo!

Caught "Sis Boom Bah" on KCRW's Morning Eclectic and made a note. Here's a smooth jazz release on the wanted list.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Mourning Warbler

Morning walk in gray damp conditions around 8. Some activity but nothing like yesterday. Had only WTSP on the list. An especially sharp chip snapped my attention to the sidetrail, where 20 feet out and below eye level, nearly in the clear and facing me, was a handsome male. Stunned, I spoke inwardly, gently, I know not what, and a moment later it exited, stage left.

Another quarter hour populated the list with 20 more species, among them 1 Canada and 2 Wilson's warblers, but despite following every reminiscent call note I didn't see the Oporornis again.

Monday, March 26, 2007

10-meter Deadness

SSB means "10 meters only" for me, so when CQ WPX SSB came during a sunspot dry spell (zero sunspots for 10 days preceding last weekend's contest) I was virtually assured of a poor showing.

A dozen tunings up and down the band between 28300 and 28500, spread throughout the daylight hours on Saturday and Sunday, resulted in no signals heard. I opted not to CQ in vain.

I think a 10-meter-only WPX entry ought to become a tradition for the next 11 years.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Esoteric? Naaaah

Just in case Liechtenstein is suspected as the source of signals, best remember this: That nation's Frequency Allocations Plan and Specific Assignments (PDF) from 2005 indicates 5450.5 may be used for automatic DTS-Mail and voice, fixed or mobile (page 140, Annex 2).

The RAF may be the source of those weather reports. They reportedly make METARish transmissions at 5450.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

WBR update

The WBR Receiver is now pulling in 60m SSB from W3, W4, G1, and elsewhere. Removed a single winding from each side of L1 and a tagalong cap (10 picofarad?) in parallel at C8. Maximum signal was achieved by grounding the antenna center conductor at its entry to the board. (But the signal pot still has little or no influence, so something else may be amiss.)

Great to have the "new" ham band in the ears for the first time since privileges were granted.

Nice foundation for a 60m band plan. It will be a help while I try to sort out frequencies and tuning range.

Edits 2007-03-06

At the top of my tuning range are NPR broadcasts carried on 5446.5 by American Forces Radio. AFR is just below some cross-Atlantic meteorological observations in a female voice.

Another useful resource via HFLINK.

Alerted by LA3ZA to 7N3WVM regen, which Sverre merged (PDF) with N1BYT's. Makoto suggests a ferrite bar antenna.

WBR update

The WBR Receiver is now pulling in 60m SSB from W3, W4, G1, and elsewhere. Removed a single winding from each side of L1 and a tagalong cap (10 picofarad?) in parallel at C8. Maximum signal was achieved by grounding the antenna center conductor at its entry to the board. (The signal pot still has little or no influence, so something else may be amiss.)

Great to have the "new" ham band in the ears for the first time since privileges were granted.

Nice foundation for a 60m band plan. It will be a help while I try to sort out frequencies and tuning range.

Edits 2007-03-06

At the top of my tuning range are NPR broadcasts carried on 5446.5 by American Forces Radio. AFR is just below some cross-Atlantic meteorological observations in a female voice.

Another useful resource via HFLINK.

Alerted by LA3ZA to 7N3WVM regen, which Sverre merged (PDF) with N1BYT's. Makoto suggests a ferrite bar antenna.

Edits 2007-03-21

It's screwed to the case, but the case is still open. The signal pot was poorly soldered. Fixed that and removed the jumper from the antenna's center conductor to ground.

The intermittent antenna, still partly buried in frozen snow, disrupts my listening now.

A History of Radio Broadcasting... and more

WCVB Chronicle "Happy Birthday Radio" via Google Video. Almost 20 minutes long.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

WinJam deprecated, but helpful today

Entered Jabber world via WinJab on the Winbook FX and Pandion on seaturtle.

This was for a test that didn't need to happen


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Thank you Dreamhost for making Flash Media so easy.

Friday, February 23, 2007

I Love Hello Kitty


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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ubuntu beginnings

After days of false starts with Ubuntu 6.10, a move to 6.06LTS made all the difference and I'm now making my first blog entry as a Linux user.

Neither the Edgy Eft i386 version at work nor the AMD64 version at home ever worked usably, but Dapper Drake is humming along on the live CD.

Next steps, which I hope go as smoothly as today's attempt, are to load it onto two hard drives.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Codewalkers Tutorials

From strings to this on codewalkers.

/*
Author: Andrew Walsh
Username: Andrew
Email: andrew@walshdev.com
Url: http://walshdev.com
*/
$uptime = @exec('uptime');
preg_match("/averages?: ([0-9\.]+),[\s]+([0-9\.]+),[\s]+([0-9\.]+)/",$uptime,$avgs);
$uptime = explode(' up ', $uptime);
$uptime = explode(',', $uptime[1]);
$uptime = $uptime[0].', '.$uptime[1];
$start=mktime(0, 0, 0, 1, 1, date("Y"), 0);
$end=mktime(0, 0, 0, date("m"), date("j"), date("y"), 0);
$diff=$end-$start;
$days=$diff/86400;
$percentage=($uptime/$days) * 100;
$load=$avgs[1].",".$avgs[2].",".$avgs[3]."";
$page='

Server Statistics For '.getenv('SERVER_NAME').'




































Server
Details
Server
Statistics
   
Name: '.getenv('SERVER_NAME').'
Uptime
(days): '.$uptime.'
Port:
'.getenv('SERVER_PORT').'
Uptime

(%): '.$percentage.'%
Software:

'.getenv('SERVER_SOFTWARE').'
Load:  '.$load.'
Protocol:  '.getenv('SERVER_PROTOCOL').' Server statistics provided by ServerStat 1.0
Gateway: '.getenv('GATEWAY_INTERFACE').'
 

Created By: Andrew Walsh




';
echo $page;
?>

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wayback digital

Came upon an HRO receipt dated 3-18-94 for a small, low power packet TNC at $114.95. A KPC-3 (not plus of course) to 604 Eastside #2. Recycled that receipt. Had forgotten that minimal packet experience.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Joining the SDR* club

The 80m SoftRock Lite that I got 2 months ago received its first signals late this afternoon -- to my surprise. I didn't expect it to work without some troubleshooting!

Most of the build was done before Christmas, but I had to steal time to get the toroids wound and installed. One of them sat for 2 weeks on the workbench just waiting for me to turn on the soldering iron. This afternoon I finally did, then decided to keep going by attaching barebones connectors for power, antenna, and line-in.

Downloaded Rocky, attached a telescoping whip, clicked "Start Radio," and scratched my head till I selected the correct line-in settings to get some band noise out of the computer's speakers. Soon after, I was copying W1MK, then some other 1s, some 2s, someone in AZ, and a DX pileup. Very cool.

This $10 radio went together pretty easily without any special equipment beyond that needed for any other radio kit I've put together. It's an incredible bargain, but dangerous... now I'm eyeing the RXTXv6.1 and a Delta 44.

*SDR = software-defined radio

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Seamus Ennis at YouTube



Just proving the possibility here. YouTube can be difficult to mine for high-quality videos, but this one was a fun encounter.