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Saturday, October 31, 2009

SolderSmoke Book Only $15.99 this weekend

Lulu.com is running a weekend "Rollback the Clock" Sale on the SolderSmoke book. 20% off! That puts the price of the U.S.-printed edition at around $15.99 Use the coupon code: FALLBACK when you are checking out.

For shipping from a printer in the U.S. (probably better for N. American buyers) Click here: SolderSmoke USA Version

For shipping from a printer in the UK, Spain, or the USA (probably better for UK and other European buyers)
Click here: SolderSmoke EU Version

The two versions are identical, except for a minor difference in the paper used. That's why the prices are a bit different.

Disclaimer: Save 20% off site-wide when you use coupon code FALLBACK at checkout (Maximum savings $100). Discounts cannot be used to pay for, nor shall be applied to, applicable taxes or shipping and handling charges. Promotional codes cannot be applied to any previous orders. No exchanges or substitutions allowed. Only one valid promotional code may be used per account. Offer expires November 2, 2009 at 11:59 PM GMT. Lulu.com reserves the right to change or revoke this offer at any time. Void where prohibited.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Some SolderSmoke In COMPUTERWORLD

"Hmm... I think I'll give ham radio a try."

Wow! The latest edition of COMPUTERWORLD contains a really inspiring article on ham radio by John Edwards, W6JE. I think this is exactly the kind of thing that could help bring computer enthusiasts into the world of The Knack. SolderSmoke is mentioned near the end of the piece. Thanks John! Nice work!
Here is the link:
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9139771/Want_to_bone_up_on_wireless_tech_Try_ham_radio?taxonomyId=

or: http://twurl.nl/0rx1vm

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The D-104 -- A Completely Respectable Piece of Ham Radio Gear

Recently we have received some comments along the lines of, "Hey Bill, what's that chrome CB-lookin' mic doin' in your shack?" Having come into ham radio during the great Amateur vs. Citizen Band wars of the 1970s, naturally I was quite stung. Fortunately, an old magazine soon arrived with a photo (above) that should end forever any speculation about the D-104 being somehow "CB." The picture above is from the January 1952 issue of "The Shortwave Magazine" from the UK. G3ZI, L.S. Woollatt, is shown with his very fine station. With the exception of his two main receivers, all of this OM's gear was homebrew. Racks and racks of FB HB gear. If a chrome lollipop was OK with G3ZI, well, then I think that settles it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The GBT: Great Big Thing (Green Bank Telescope)

Oh man, imagine sitting there in the Faraday-caged control room in the National Radio Quiet Zone, in an area in which things are kept so RF quiet that only diesel vehicles are allowed... "Wired" has a very nice on-line article and photo spread on this magnificent antenna:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/10/gbt-nrao-tour/

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Listen to "El Silbo" Voice-Powered Rig!

POWER SUPPLY

Michael, AA1TJ, has had more contacts with his voice-powered DSB rig. (Scroll down a bit for a look at the schematic and more comments on this amazing project.) Michael has posted two recordings of his signal (as received at distant stations). When I played these files, Ubuntu showed one of those semi-psychedelic groovy "visualizer" displays, complete with oscilloscope-like patterns; the signal looked FB Michael!
Have a listen: http://mjrainey.googlepages.com/elsilbo

Monday, October 26, 2009

I0/N2CQR WINS CQ WW DX CONTEST!!!!

I'm proud to report that in the category "Homebrew QRP Double-Sideband Phone, Western Trastevere" I think I'm the winner! I came in with massive point count of 7! And guess what -- ABSOLUTELY ALL of the reports I received were 59! Even when it seemed like I had to repeat my call 59 times!
The rig I used is pictured above. More details at:
http://www.gadgeteer.us/PORTABLE.html

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Genesis Q5: QRP and QRSS TX for $19.95

Nick,VK1AA, from GenesisRadio sent us a note about a new kit:

Q5 is our 1W 30m CW transmitter kit. Amongst other things, it is suitable for QRSS builders who wants to modify this baby for QRSS projects. I have already received number of reports from G's who made it to VE1 and they all praise excellent stability of this design.
It is only $19.95 -- that's less than you pay in some places for coffee and slice of cake!
GenesisRadio will take you to the roots of homebrewing where electronics and ham radio is still contagiously exciting. Genesis Q5 is a radio transmitter kit designed for novice kit builders and QRP radio enthusiasts. "Hook 'em on ham radio while they're young" is GenesisRadio's motto.
And the Q5 series will definitely meet your expectations: with forty quality components and a professionally manufactured circuit board, the Q5 will get you transmitting on crystal controlled International QRP frequencies running a solid 1 Watt in no time! Price: US$ 19.95 + postage.

For more information visit
http://www.genesisradio.com.au/Q5/

Watch two-minute Q5 promotional "Hook 'em on" video produced by 12 years old Josh, VK2FJDX:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

SolderSmoke Podcast #117

http://www.soldersmoke.com

In SolderSmoke 117:

24 October 2009
Climbing Monte Calvo + Horseback riding + Piggy-backs = LOWER BACK PAIN
Visit of Bob, W8SX, Soldersmoke correspondent in Dayton
AA1TJ's point contact adventures -- Backwaves and Backwash
AF Collins on Kindle -- "William" Marconi
Hans Summers and Turkish Piracy
RSGB Convention via Skype
"Air and Space" Aurora Article
My new, old Pentium III with Ubuntu (Thanks Jorge!)
Roadkill computing
CQ interviews Joe Taylor, K1JT
New Spart and new Sprat CD
AA1TJ's voice-powered transmitter (and some advice from Italy)
QSOs from Ponticelli: DK1HW/P (SOTA) and UN9GD.
SOLDERSMOKE THE BOOK -- WEEKEND SALE!
MAILBAG

"El Silbo": Michael Rainey's Amazing Voice-Powered DSB Transmitter


Oh man, the wizard of the Vermont hobbit hole has really outdone himself this time. Michael Rainey, AA1TJ, has posted a very interesting report on his experiments with voice-powered radio. I was, of course, delighted that he went with DSB. Check it out: http://mjrainey.googlepages.com/elsilbo

I don't mean to seem like I'm taking any credit for this, but I did provide Michael some technical advice on how to increase power output:

Michael: Obviously the Italian elements in the project were of critical importance. Some of them may have escaped your attention. I note that an olive can was involved... For further progress I think you should consider working in some of the other substances that help keep Italy going: cappuccino, Nutela, and perhaps some vino bianco...

Another thing: While you are shouting, be sure to use the proper gesticulations. I recommend that you go Neapolitan here -- they are the best. I'd say that before each CQ, you should put yourself in a Neapolitan frame of mind: imagine that someone has bumped into your car and that you and the other guy are arguing about who is at fault. This should generate at least 20 mW!

In boca a lupo! 73

Bill

Friday, October 23, 2009

Weekend Sale: Save 15% on "SolderSmoke -- The Book"

For shipping from a printer in the U.S. (probably better for N. American buyers) Click here: SolderSmoke USA Version

For shipping from a printer in the UK, Spain, or the USA (probably better for UK and other European buyers)
Click here: SolderSmoke EU Version

The two versions are identical, except for a minor difference in the paper used. That's why the prices are a bit different.

Enter coupon code 'TRICK' at checkout and save 15% off any purchase - maximum discount $35 per account. Enter coupon code 'TREAT' and save 20% off on any order of $500 or more - maximum discount of $500 per account. Discount cannot be used to pay for, nor shall be applied to, applicable taxes or shipping and handling charges. Promotional codes cannot be applied to any previous order. No exchanges or substitutions allowed. Only one valid coupon code may be used per account. Offer expires on 10/25/09 at 11:59 PM GMT. Lulu.com reserves the right to change or revoke this offer at any time. Void where prohibited.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Great CQ Article on Joe Taylor, K1JT

The October 2009 issue of CQ magazine has a really interesting article on Joe Taylor, K1JT. Joe is a winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics. The article is by CQ magazine editor Rich Moseson, W2VU. I was particularly interested in the Joe's description of how his radio astronomy work led eventually to his creation of the WSJT and WSPR programs that many of us are now using. (Above you can see a WSPR report showing Joe's station in New Jersey receiving my 20 mW WSPR signal.)

CQ magazine has put a "Digging Deeper" article on Joe on its web site. It is not the full October 2008 magazine article, but the on-line article has much of the tech info from Rich's interview with Joe, and in some areas goes deeper. Great stuff! Here it is:
http://www.cq-amateur-radio.com/Joe_Taylor_webOct09.pdf
Thanks Rich! Thanks CQ! Thanks Joe!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Some Interesting QSLs from W7ZOI

Wes, W7ZOI, just put up on the web some QSLs from his collection. They are all very interesting. Take a look: http://w7zoi.net/qslcards/qsls.html I especially liked the "lemon QSO" card shown above.

While visiting the QSL page, I also came across the story of Wes's first encounter with homebrew ham radio. As a kid, he he would listen to a local 75 meter AM operator who was a hardcore homebrewer. On this guy's rig, "even the knobs were homebrew." Wes was listening with a crystal radio! What a great way to get started. More on this here: http://w7zoi.net/shack.html
Thanks Wes!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Duct Tape Repair of Lunar Rover

Hey, doesn't that mountain ("Shorty") on the moon look a bit like Mount Calvo (the one that Billy and I were climbing last weekend, see below)? But I digress. This is all about Duct tape. Apollo 17. The right rear fender on the moon buggy gets broken. Duct tape to the rescue!
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/21apr_ducttape.htm

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monte Calvo and a Summit on the Air

We had kind of a mountain theme this weekend. We were out in the country again. After some horseback riding in the morning, Billy and I and some friends decided to hike up a little mountain in the area. It is part of Monte Calvo. We didn't make it to the summit (too much underbrush) but I managed to send an e-mail with the coordinates of our highest point. I put the location it on Google Earth --you can see how we did. On to the summit next time!
Speaking of summits, I only made two contacts with the HW-8 this weekend (from the house, not the mountain). The first was a contest station on 20 meters, UN9GD. But the second (also on 20) was a QRP "Summit on the Air" station. DK1HW/P was running four watts from a KX-1. It was nice to work another QRP station. (It was cold in the mountains this weekend -- my fist was not at its best!)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

When all else fails... THE KNACK

Kurt, N3JTW, alerted me to an excellent article on the blog site of the Dutch magazine Elektor. It is about a major flood in the Netherlands in 1953. Cut off from the mainland and without communication gear, OM Hossfeld whipped up the transmitter pictured above and set up a vitally important communications link. He used an 807 tube in the final. 10 Watts out on 15 meters. Note the coil wound on the bottle. The call was PA0ZRK. FB!
Here's the link: http://theelectronicball.blogspot.com/2009/10/radio-to-rescue.html

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A REALLY Different Kind of Construction Problem

OK, so you're building a Large Hadron Collider, hoping to conjure up the elusive Higgs-Boson particle. But somehow, every time you try, smoke gets released. Here is one recent theory (reported in the New York Times) about what is going on:

"I'm talking about the notion that the troubled collider is being sabotaged by its own future. A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather."

Wow! This is really useful troubleshooting information! Who among us hasn't been working on something that could be considered "abhorrent to nature"? We are, after all, the "ugly" construction guys. Perhaps if things get a little too ugly, a WHOLE DIFFERENT set of problems kick in. No wonder I couldn't get that 440 Mhz transverter working!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Micro Men on the BBC: Sinclairs, Acorns, and the Knack

Now these guys look like some proper British boffins!
Tony Fishpool, G4WIF, sent me this link to a wonderful new BBC program about the early days of home computing: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gamesblog/2009/oct/08/armstrong-freeman-micro-men-bbc

Tony also sent me his own story of computer derring-do in the early days. Here Tony once again marks himself as a true Knack victim, and a true wizard. Commenting on the BBC show, Tony wrote:

...I enjoyed a huge dose of nostalgia. I owned both Sinclair and Acorn computers back then and I suppose they launched me on a geek career that's put food on the table ever since.

One of the first Christmas's of my early married life tested my new bride's
patience with a knack victim for a husband.

A long awaited Acorn Atom kit computer finally arrived on Christmas Eve. All during Christmas day I was hunched over a steaming soldering iron installing every capacitor, resistor and semiconductor in the computer's printed circuit board.

That evening after the last component was installed I applied power and
there was a beep and the TV (which should have been showing Christmas
movies) displayed :-

Acorn Computers

Ready>

Wow!

How I managed to get that computer working first time still amazes me to
this day. How I am still married amazes me even more - but I was "in the
zone" and that computer just had to be built.

The TV show is called "Micro Men" so look out for it.

Kind regards
Tony G4WIF

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Video Smoke

There is a special SolderSmoke video on YouTube today. Look for the
M0HBR channel. Or use the SS Video link to the right on this blog 73
from Ponticelli
Bill

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Columbus Day Sale on SolderSmoke (The Book) Save 14.92%

Enter coupon code 'PINTA' at checkout and save 14.92% off any purchase - maximum discount $25 per account. No exchanges or substitutions allowed. Only one valid coupon code may be used per account. Offer expires on 10/12/09 at 11:59 PM GMT. Lulu.com reserves the right to change or revoke this offer at any time. Void where prohibited.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lunar Impact on October 9 -- LCROSS Hits the Moon



It is a bus-sized object and it will hit at approximately twice the speed of a bullet!

Even though my telescope is a bit smaller than the recommended minimum, I'd be tempted to see if I could see it.... But that 1130 GMT impact time would make it difficult from Rome!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Kid in Malawi Builds Homebrew Wind Power System

This is a very nice story. Inspirational stuff. Young William Kamkwamba wanted to bring electricity to his family. So he went to a library, got some plans for a windmill, then gathered the parts and built one.
http://williamkamkwamba.typepad.com/
Designer: Douglas Bowman | Dimodifikasi oleh Abdul Munir Original Posting Rounders 3 Column