From my Twitter feed: Trash Talk, Android antenna analzyer, Oinker

DIYEngineering's avatarDIY Engineering @DIYEngineering
Trash Talk – Trash Talk is a prototype for an inexpensive, mesh-networked, democratic public address system. Each … ow.ly/2Gx8z5

 

RadioGeek's avatarKKØHF @RadioGeek
Amateur radio more Space Age than Digital Age gaining popularity reviewjournal.com/life/recreatio… pic.twitter.com/sNti1HxhXD

 

W2MDW's avatarMatthew Williams @W2MDW
Interesting, and fairly cheap antenna analyzer that has Android support. ebay.com/itm/Sark100-HF…

 

DIYEngineering's avatarDIY Engineering @DIYEngineering
Oinker is Twitter for HAMs – Have you ever wanted to send a quick message to your HAM radio buddies over the … ow.ly/2GDOlL

From my Twitter feed: SDR showdown, ground rods, end of the world?

R3UAA's avatarR3UAA @R3UAA
Taylor Killian: SDR Showdown: HackRF vs. bladeRF vs. USRP
taylorkillian.com/2013/08/sdr-sh…

 

K5PO's avatarAndy Holmes, K5PO @K5PO
K5PO Shows the *right* way to install ground rods… Even in rocky soil! #powertools #hamr youtu.be/YObizRMo068

 

ke9v's avatarJeff Davis @ke9v
It’s the end of the world, as we know it –> Anonymous develops secure data over ham radio scheme. theregister.co.uk/2014/05/01/ano

From the trade magazines: Beagle Bone add-ons, DIY 555, using digital scopes

Giant 555Build Your Own Giant 555. This is definitely not practical, but it is fun. It’s educational, too!

BeagleBone: 9 Add-Ons That Power It Past Raspberry Pi. I have a BeagleBone, and while I haven’t played around with it a lot yet, I am liking it. I think it’s a better choice for amateur radio apps than the Raspberry Pi.

How to Use a Digital Oscilloscope. Now that scopes are so cheap, more and more hams have them. They do work differently than analog scopes, and this course will help you use yours better, if you have one.

Kindess of Strangers

In the closing moments of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Name Desire, Blanche DuBois utters her most memorable line, “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” Amateur radio operators are sometimes like that.

hk-5aI recently came into possession of a HamKey HK-5A keyer (see right). HamKey has been out of business for many years, so I had to depend on the kindness of strangers to find any kind of documentation for the unit.

Fortunately, Google and the hams out there came through. I Googled “HamKey HK-5A” and found a thread on an eHam forum. In the thread, N5RDN offered to make a copy of his manual for KW4MM. I emailed Rob, N5RDN, and a PDF of the manual appeared in my inbox this morning.

Thanks, Rob!  I now offer the HK-5A-manual here for anyone who needs it.

New clock accurate to within 1s every 300 million years

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NIST physicists Steve Jefferts (foreground) and Tom Heavner with the NIST-F2 “cesium fountain” atomic clock, a new civilian time standard for the United States. Credit: NIST

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has officially launched a new atomic clock, called NIST-F2, to serve as a new U.S. civilian time and frequency standard, along with the current NIST-F1 standard.

NIST-F2 would neither gain nor lose one second in about 300 million years, making it about three times as accurate as NIST-F1, which has served as the standard since 1999. Both clocks use a “fountain” of cesium atoms to determine the exact length of a second.

NIST scientists recently reported the first official performance data for NIST-F2,* which has been under development for a decade, to the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), located near Paris, France. That agency collates data from atomic clocks around the world to produce Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the international standard of time. According to BIPM data, NIST-F2 is now the world’s most accurate time standard.**

NIST-F2 is the latest in a series of cesium-based atomic clocks developed by NIST since the 1950s. In its role as the U.S. measurement authority, NIST strives to advance atomic timekeeping, which is part of the basic infrastructure of modern society. Many everyday technologies, such as cellular telephones, Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite receivers, and the electric power grid, rely on the high accuracy of atomic clocks. Historically, improved timekeeping has consistently led to technology improvements and innovation.

Read more and watch video …

Read background information about how NIST F-2 Works and watch animation …

From my Twitter feed: clear-top boxes, SDR, HSMM

LA3ZA's avatarSverre Holm, LA3ZA @LA3ZA
Show off your project in a clear top tin la3za.blogspot.com/2014/02/show-o…

roteno's avatarVictor Laynez @roteno
Fun little radio housing. pic.twitter.com/QtmCw2smuW

DIYEngineering's avatarDIY Engineering @DIYEngineering
Using SDR to Read Your Smart Meter – [BeMasher] was dissatisfied with the cost of other solutions to read his smar… ow.ly/2EcLiT

kc5fm's avatarkc5fm @kc5fm
An Old Buzzard’s Guide to Getting Started with HSMM-Mesh bit.ly/1eL1cQg #ARRL #hamradio

ARRL Board Requests Member Comments About Digital Modes

ARRLSB QST @ ARL $ARLB007
ARLB007 ARRL Board Requests Member Comments About Digital Modes

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QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 7  ARLB007
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  March 3, 2014

To all radio amateurs

SB QST ARL ARLB007
ARLB007 ARRL Board Requests Member Comments About Digital Modes

At the January 2014 ARRL Board of Directors meeting, a resolution was passed which asked for member feedback and input pertaining to the increasing popularity of data modes. The information gathered by  this investigation is to be used by the HF Band Planning Committee of the Board as a means to suggest ways to use our spectrum efficiently so that these data modes may “compatibly coexist with each other.”  As per the resolution, the ARRL Board of Directors is now reaching out to the membership and requesting cogent input and thoughtful feedback on matters specific to digital mode operation on the HF bands.

The feedback may include, but is not limited to, the recent proposal the ARRL made to the FCC, RM 11708, regarding the elimination of the symbol rate restrictions currently in effect.  A FAQ on RM 11708 can be found on the web at, http://www.arrl.org/rm-11708-faq .

The Board of Directors believes that member input in the decision making process is both valuable and important as well as fostering a more transparent organization.  It is to this end that we open this dialogue.

Comments must be received no later than March 31, 2014 to be included in the Committee’s report to the Board at the July 2014 ARRL Board of Directors meeting. Please e-mail your comments to: HF-Digital-Bandplanning@arrl.org

Concerned members may also contact their Division Director by mail, telephone or in person with any relevant information.

From my Twitter feed: Antique wireless, Nuclear Summit special event

K7AGE's avatar @K7AGE
AWA GATEWAY available #hamradio antiquewireless.org/uploads/1/6/1/… pic.twitter.com/NoI7dkksmW

DIYEngineering's avatarDIY Engineering @DIYEngineering
Call for Hams and Hackers: Welcome ICE/ISEE-3 Home – ISEE-3, one of America’s most dedicated space exploration … ow.ly/2DSJMz

PD0MV's avatarPD0MV@PD0MV
#PD6NUKE – For All Ham Operators world wide pic.twitter.com/tmHZDuCQAOStory image

From my Twitter feed: SDR, spider coils, smart scope

vielmetti's avatarEdward Vielmetti @vielmetti
decoding radio digital modes without a radio, using WebSDR and fldigi /cc @kb6nu #hamr bit.ly/1o678qG

mike_n8wc's avatarMike Comer @mike_n8wc
@kb6nu great info! Back to radio after several years. Enjoy how the internet has enhanced enjoyment of a great radio hobby.

AK6L's avatarRobert Liesenfeld @AK6L
Taught myself PostScript and wrote a template generator for making spider-wound coils. Inspired in part by .@vk2zay. github.com/xunil/spider_c…

DH1TW's avatarTobias @DH1TW
“SmartScope – Kickstarter campaign for an open source 100MS portable oscilloscope #hamradio #diy feedly.com/k/1gr8jQm

LC100 LC meter seems like a good deal

I recently bought an LC100A LC meter from eBay, like the one shown below. If you search eBay, you’ll find them on sale anywhere from $20 to $40. Yesterday, I finally got around to playing with it a little.

lc100

To power the device, you need to supply +5V. It comes with a cable that has a USB connector on one side and a power connector on the other. Obviously, it’s meant to be powered by a USB port. I used a power adapter that I purchased to charge an iPod. It worked great.

As a quick test, I measured the capacitance of ten 0.33 uF caps that I purchased for a project. I first measured the capacitance with the LC100A and then with the fancy-schmancy Keithley 2110 that I purchased about a year ago. Below are the results:

LC100 2110
1  .35 .339
2  .33 .326
3  .33 .318
4  .33 .322
5  .33 .324
6  .34 .328
7  .34 .330
8  .34 .329
9  .34 .330
10  .33 .316

Now, this wasn’t a very scientific test, but I am pleased with the results. I also measured the value of some 330 uH chokes that  I had. They all measured between 315 and 320 uH.

So, all in all, I think this is a good deal for the money. I’m looking forward to using it on some of my projects. The next step is to find a box to put this in. I’m surprised that no one seems to have found one yet.