Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Survivor Library

This site has a ton of old books on everything from farming to Boy Scout manuals, engineering, chemistry, education, and radio. They can be downloaded as PDFs or ePub files. 

http://www.survivorlibrary.com

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

ARRL Web Server Breach

10/07/2014

Late last month, a security breach occurred, involving a web server at ARRL Headquarters. ARRL IT Manager Mike Keane, K1MK, said that League members have no reason to be concerned about sensitive personal information being leaked.

Link.

If you have a login at arrl.org, I suggest you go change your password.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Free Book: Radio Monitoring A How To Guide

N2EI has made his book, Radio Monitoring A How To Guide, freely available under the Creative Commons License. Go download it here.

{Hat tip to Sparks.}

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

New Mini CNC Mill from Defense Distributed

Cody Wilson, the guy who made the antigunners piss their pants with a 3D printed guns, is at it again. This time, it is a mini CNC mill that will retail for under $1500 and come ready to go out of the box. It's big enough to do 80% AR15 lowers and 1911 frames. Of course, it's not limited to making guns.

The hardware and software are open source. The website says that it'll be shipping for "Holiday 2014," and it's available now for pre-order.

https://ghostgunner.net

This has the potential to be more significant for the right to bear arms than 3D printed guns. This will allow you to make the receiver (i.e., the part registered and controlled in the US) out of metal, from which the majority of guns are made. With many traditional designs you cannot simply substitute synthetics, due to engineering constraints.

Making gun control moot via technology will be one of the greatest advances for personal liberty that we see in the 21st Century.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11

Last year I posted about the 12th anniversary of 9/11, and find that what I wrote one year ago still reflects my feelings. Only now, we’ve gone further down the rabbit hole and are facing a new enemy in the form of ISIS.

Unfortunately, after Obama’s dithering of the past few weeks, and last night’s lackluster call to arms, I fear we are no closer to confronting and repulsing this threat. With our wide open southern border and “leaders” who inspire neither fear nor respect by our foes, it is probably only a matter of time before more major attacks happen on our soil.

A pox on everyone in the White House and Congress.

Baofeng UV-5RA Extended Battery

Up until recently one downside of getting the Baofeng UV-5RA HT was that the extra capacity batteries made for the other variants of the UV-5R did not fit it. At the start of last week I found a 3600 mAH battery to fit the UV-5RA. It’s from eBay seller radioshop8888 located in Hong Kong. This link should take you directly to the battery.

The cost was $21 shipped from HK to the US.

Here are some pictures, with a regular Bic lighter for scale. First, the UV-5RA with the stock 1800 mAH battery, then with the 3600 mAH battery, and finally the two batteries together.

Note that my radio is fitted with a Nagoya NA-701 2M/70cm antenna. It provides a little better performance than the stock rubber duck.

Aside from having double the capacity of the OEM battery, the extended battery makes the HT easier to hold, especially when you’re trying to work the buttons while holding it with only one hand.

Solar Flare and Incoming X-Class CME

As reported in the news over the past couple days, the Earth was hit by a solar flare on 9/9.  An X-class coronal mass ejection is following the flare and is expected to hit us with a glancing blow early Friday morning, 9/12. When the flare hit HF radio transmissions were severely disrupted, e.g., 20M was pretty much wiped out for awhile.

Other than HF disruptions and some better than normal auroras, any other effects are likely to be minimal. That said, I’ll be unplugging my radio antennas and power cords tonight, just in case the predictions are wrong. Likeiwse, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to do things like fill the gas tanks in your vehicles and any spare gas cans, just in case.

Good sites to follow what’s going on with the Sun, solar flares, and CMEs are Solar Ham and Space Weather.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Using Fldigi on a Mac to Control an Icom 7200

Ray, W3PRR, asked me for help on configuring Fldigi running on a Mac with OS 10.9.4 so that it can control an Icom 7200 radio. Here’s how I did it:

1. Get yourself a plain USB-A to USB-B cable, as used with most recent computer printers. This one at Amazon will work fine. The IC7200 has a built in sound card, and the USB cable will provide both rig control and audio input/output through the one cable.

2. Make sure the OS is up to date by running OS X’s Software Update.

3. You need to install the driver for the Silicon Labs CP210 USB-to-UART bridge, which is what provides the brains for the USB-B port on the back of the radio. You can download that here.

Note: Do not connect the radio to your Mac when you install the driver. Connect the radio after you install and reboot the Mac.

4. Download and install the Hamlib radio control libraries.

5. Download and install the latest version of Fldigi.

6. Connect and power on the radio to your computer using the USB cable. Make sure that the radio is in Data mode, and make sure that Data mode is set to U, so that it accepts audio and CAT commands through the USB port. See page 43 of the Icom 7200 Instruction Manual for details.

7.In Fldigi, under Configuration > Audio > Devices, select PortAudio, then USB Audio CODEC for both Capture and Playback. Click Save before you move to the next step.



Note: If the radio is not connected and powered on, the USB Audio CODEC option will not be visible.

8. Under Configuration > Rig use these settings.



Click Initialize, then Save, then Close.

At this point you should be able to see activity in the Fldigi waterfall (ASSuming there is anyone on frequency), and you should be able to transmit from within the program. The 20M PSK31 calling frequncy, 14.070 MHz, is a good frequency to use for testing because it tends to be active.