En route to the Teacher’s Forum, I passed by the Antenna Forum, which looked to be very popular. There were guys standing out in the hallway trying to hear the presentation.
The Teacher’s Forum has been moderated by Carole Perry, WB2MGP, for as long as I can remember. She always has good speakers. This year, the lineup included Gordon West and Bob Heil.
One idea that I picked up is to use a flashing light or LED to demonstrate the idea of duty cycle. By hooking it up to a variable duty cycle oscillator, you could vary the amount of on time versus the amount of off time, and this would make a very good visual demonstration.
This year’s presenters mostly talked about teaching kids. This fall, I plan to teach a class for seniors. If it goes well, I’m thinking that I could talk about that class at next year’s teacher forum.
In the afternoon, I attended the Software-Defined Radio Forum. This forum was also packed. We first heard about the new FlexRadio 1500, which is a $650 SDR. Its output is only 5W, but this looks like a real bargain.
Next up was Lyle, KK7P, from Elecraft. He gave us the Elecraft perspective on what an SDR is and what it’s not. It was interesting, but not very technical.
After Lyle, the TAPR VP (whose name and call I forget) talked about developments with the SDR projects at TAPR. My initial impression is that while all of these developments are well-done, it’s still much less expensive to simply buy a Flex 1500. I haven’t checked the specs, though, to see if they are comparable.
Finally, there was a talk on MacHPSDR, a native Mac implementation of a receiver for OpenHPSDR hardware. I wish that I’d been able to stay, as I am a Mac person, but I had to leave. Despite the availability of this software, you really do need to have a PC to run a software-defined radio. I don’t expect this to change in the near future.
Well, that was certainly enough for one day. On Saturday, there were some equally interesting forums, including forums on RTTY, SSTV, antenna-modeling software, and the AMSAT forum. Despite this, I decided to not attend a single one and walk the fleamarket and visit vendor booths. More about that in the next post.