Sunday, August 07, 2011
Carrying my manuals with me
I recently bought a Kindle K3 from Amazon after debating with myself for a long time about spending the money on one. The tipping point came when I ordered my last two hard cover books from Amazon and the day they arrived I found two additional ones that I wanted. The book shelves in my living room are bulging at the seams and I was going to have to start thinking about occupying another wall. This pleased my wife about as much as my wanting to put a 50' flag pole in the front yard to string antennas from.
So I looked at the Kindle which has a six inch diagonal screen, is not as thick as a number 2 pencil and will hold over 3000 books. Now I won't go into a complete review of the Kindle here but I will say that so far I love it. I wasn't sure I would like reading on the device especially since I like the feel of a new book in my hands. Again, that is another story.
After I had my Kindle set up and had purchased a few books from the Kindle store I started exploring other aspects of this little gem. The first thing to catch my eye was that it would display documents in PDF format. In addition you are given an email address when you purchase your Kindle to which you can email files that they will then transfer to your device via WiFi or what they call "Whisper Net" which is just a 3G connection by way of the cellular network. I haven't tried it yet but you can also link with USB to Kindle and load PDF files that way.
Needless to say all of my ham gear manuals from Icom and Yaesu are available in PDF format. There is a trend now days to supply manuals only in digital form leaving it to the end user to decide if he or she needs a "dead tree" version. So now when I'm mobile if I want to look up some obscure function on my FT-7800-R dual band mobile I just need to take out my Kindle and RTFM. Yet another small way that computers are wedging their way into the shack.
Labels: Kindle manuals PDF portable use
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Here is a small low power consumption computer that I ran across that looks like it would make a great Linux system for the shack. For that matter it would be nice for anywhere that you want a computer on that runs 24/7 and don't want to take up a lot of space. It is a little pricey when compared to some of the bare bones boxes that you can get from Tiger Direct
in conventional PC form factor. I see a trend in laptop computers where first RS-232 ports disappeared from them and now it looks like optical drives will be the next item to fall from the hardware platform in an every increasing drive to minimal size and weight. That trend is also evident in these types of systems also.
You can get a system with a faster processor and a built in optical drive for equal or slightly less money although it does come in "kit" form any you have to mount the components. It is just a screw driver job that requires a little time.
At one time I would have given a lot for a fan less system like this being overly sensitive to the noise from working in server rooms for extended periods. The technology has improved in power supplies and have become tolerable for me though.
So if you have been looking for a dedicated computer for the shack or if you would like a small form factor system to use in your office, den or living room this could be the ticket. Check out evo technologies
and their products.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
North Hills Amateur Radio Club to have new meeting place
I received this email from the North Hills Amateur Radio
Club and wish to make the information available to as wide an audience as possible. The NHARC
has a very active membership and a long history of service to the community and the amateur radio hobby. Everyone is welcome to attend meetings and you are encouraged to bring a friend. If you have an interest in radio and electronics you will find a friendly group of kindred spirits there.Dear North Hills Club Members,
A year ago all of you came to a meeting where I announced the Club would be moving. While this Christ Lutheran Church is better than the Northland Library, it was still not good for our growth.
At this time, I announce to the members of North Hills ARC we have found a permanent home. One where we can hold all Club events including Jota, Elmer nights and Club meetings. Most of all, the management of the new location is receptive to helping us grow in the future by providing us the possibility of a radio room. We will also be permitted to hold the hamfest there.
The reason for the change is cost, convenience and growth. We will meet for our first meeting at Parkwood Church on Mount Royal Blvd August 10th at 7pm. At that time, we will talk about the possibilities we have for making North Hills Radio Club better than we already have done.
On behalf of the Board I thank you for your continued support with North Hills and look for many great Club events at Parkwood.
Parkwood United Presbyterian Church
4289 Mt. Royal Blvd.
Allison Park PA 15101
Jim Heiles KB3IYS
North Hills ARC
Monday, March 28, 2011
Ham Radio's Cutting Edge Technology
Here is a link to a site that I picked up from twitter. While it is just a "tease" of the whole story if you know anything at all about amateur radio it is interesting none the less. Enjoy.Hearing weak signals with amateur radio.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Breeze Shooters 10 meter PSK31 contest
From the Skyview Radio Society's mailing list
Breeze Shooters Annual PSK 31 GroundWave Contest is tonite.
Time: 7pm till Midnight
Place: 10 meter band
Quote: From a famous Statesman - "one if by home, two if by club"
Either way, the fun starts at 7pm. Be sure to fill in "club affiliation" as "SkyView
" (if current member)
Check the Breeze Shooter's web
site for more information.
Friday, December 31, 2010
A very Happy New Year to all of my ham radio, scanner and Linux friends out there
I want to take this opportunity to wish all of my amateur radio friends and fellow Linux users out there in cyberspace a very Happy New Year. I hope that 2011 brings you higher antennas, more DX and many new friends on the bands in the coming year.
I wish my fellow scanner listeners a Happy New Year and hope that Santa was good to you with new toys for Christmas and that you experience a lot of good monitoring in 2011.
If you are a Linux users, or would like to be, pay attention to the local repeaters for the possibility of a new net in the new year that will encompass some computer aspects and some interesting Linux information. Watch the blog for more information as things develop.
I hope that God has blessed you and your family and friends in 2010 and that he will continue to do so in 2011. Keep the real meaning of Christmas in your hearts and minds all though the coming year. It will improve your life beyond belief.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Ham Classes to be held at the Salvation Army
Classes will commence at the Salvation Army, Parish Street, Greentree, PA on 1/12/11, Wednesday and 1/13/11, Thursday. Class time is 7:00 to 9:00 P.M.
The VE Test Sessions will be 2/16 and 2/17/11.
To register for the classes, please contact Joe, KA3TDQ at 412-496-5441 or email KA3TDQ@VERIZON.NET or Jerry, K3FKI at 412-795-4595 or email K3FKI@VERIZON.NET.
Labels: Ham radio classes Salvation Army Greentree
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Santa came early this year
Well the North Hills Amateur Radio Clubs' flag ship repeater on 147.090 has been returned to service much sooner than expected.
The repeater is located above Pittsburgh's North Side on the WPXI channel 11 television tower and covers the city and surrounding Allegheny County area. The machine is the official ARES repeater for the county. It transmits a continuous CTCSS tone of 88.5 and if need be can be switched to 88.5 on the receiver. Normally though the machine runs with carrier squelch on the input.
If you are in the Pittsburgh area please feel free to use the machine and say hello to the hams in the area.
Labels: NHARC repeaters 147.09 W3EXW ARES Pittsburgh
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
NHARC's 147.09 repeater off the air
The North Hills Amateur Radio Club's
147.090 repeater is out of service for repairs. If you are in the Pittsburgh area please use the sister repeater on 146.880. It is hopped that the 09 machine will be back on the air within a week. All of the North Hills Club repeaters have exceptional "uptime" service records so this is an unusual situation partially because of the holiday this week. I will post when the machine is back on line. The weekly club net normally held on 147.09 at 08:30 PM local time will be moved to the 88 machine this evening.
Labels: NHARC repeaters 147.09 146.88 W3EXW
Saturday, May 15, 2010
First Responders to End Radio Market Monopolies
The 88 cities of Los Angeles County have banded together to end a long-standing business model that forces them to upgrade first responder radio systems at the whim of vendors.
The practice of selling closed-architecture systems has favored a small group of public safety radio manufacturers for decades, said former city of Los Angeles assistant police chief Michael Bostic, who now works for Raytheon as its director of public safety solutions.
A joint powers agreement signed by the cities will create the Los Angeles Regional Interoperability Communications System, which is designed to bring an open architecture system — commonly used in the commercial mobile phone market — to police departments.
Friday, May 14, 2010
D-Star expands in Pittsburgh
It is now public knowledge that the North Hills Amateur Radio Club
will be purchasing equipment at this years Dayton Hamvention to put a second D-Star repeater
on. This one will be a VHF high band repeater on the 146.22/146.82 pair which has languished unused in Pittsburgh for a very long time now. Those who have been around the Pittsburgh two meter scene for a while will remember when the 82 machine was located on the Westinghouse Research & Development Center in Church Hill and had very wide coverage in the area. Old timers quiz, anyone remember what the call sign of the 82 repeater was when located there? Bonus points if you remember what it was changed to when the FCC stopped issuing special call signs for repeaters.
As I have said in previous postings I would like D-Star a lot more if did not use a proprietary codex for the digital encoding and decoding of the voice portion of the transmissions. I would also like to see much faster data rates on the VHF and UHF frequencies. Still even at the slow data rates D-Star becomes a real tool for use in emergency situations where hams are asked to provide all of the communications or supplant public safety radio systems that have become overloaded because of the circumstances.
The new repeater will be co-located with the existing UHF repeater in the Oakland section of the city at the WQED transmitter site. This will go a long way toward making D-Star popular among local hams. I know I have herd more than one person on the air saying that D-Star is a big investment in equipment when you consider that there are very few repeaters around and thus not many other hams to chat with. Hopefully that is going to change now. As soon as I have more information I will post it here on the blog. Until then those that are making the journey this year have a great time at Dayton.
Labels: repeater D-Star North Hills Amateur Radio Club
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Rare Space Shuttle Landing
Thanks to Larry, AA3ZN, for the heads up on this one.
SPACE SHUTTLE RE-ENTRY: On Monday morning, April
19th, space shuttle Discovery will make a rare "descending
node" reentry over the continental United States. The
returning spacecraft will pass over or close to many towns
and cities en route to landing in Florida at 8:48 am EDT,
including Fort Peck Lake, Montana; Pierre, South Dakota;
Sioux City, Iowa; St. Louis, Missouri; Tupelo, Mississippi,
Birmingham, Alabama, and Jacksonville, Florida.
Observers along western parts of the ground track could see
the shuttle blazing through pre-dawn darkness. As
Discovery makes its way east, it will enter daylight and
fade into the bright blue background. If you can't see the
shuttle, however, you might be able to hear it. The shuttle
produces a sonic double-boom that reaches the ground about a
minute and a half after passing overhead. Check http://spaceweather.com for maps and more information.
SPACE WEATHER ALERTS: Would you like to turn your
phone into a space weather monitoring system? Sign up
for Space Weather PHONE: http://spaceweatherphone.com
You are subscribed to the Space Weather mailing list, a free service of Spaceweather.com.
New subscribers may sign up for free space weather alerts
at http://spaceweather.com/services/ .
Labels: Space shuttle east coast landing
Friday, April 09, 2010
ARRL product reviews for May
Here is a sample of the product reviews that will be forthcoming in the May issue of QST.
Labels: ARRL product reviews May 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Not quite sure how..................
I'm not quite sure how this happened. I have three blogs that I maintain one about Oakmont, a second about amateur radio and a third about rail fans. Normally I don't "cross post" to them unless I really feel that the subject would be of interest to both sets of readers. Last week I wrote an entry about the movie "The Blind Side" for my Oakmont blog. At one point I made some changes in the posting options and when I returned to the software "dashboard" of Blogger I was surprised to find that my entry has simply disappeared. There were no backup or draft copies and it was getting late and I wanted to go to bed. So I gave up in disgust and left the computer.
So imagine my surprise when I was writing a posting for the rail fan blog yesterday evening and in the process of looking over all three blogs found my movie posting in my amateur radio blog! It may well turn out to be a simple case of operator error but I really think the blogger software pulled a fast one one me and I didn't take the time to investigate all of the avenues of where my written words had wandered off to. So if you are wondering why you are getting Siskel & Ebert on an amateur radio blog now you know.
I will be making some posting in the Linux area shortly. I have been using Ubuntu for about two years now and I have recently switched to Linux Mint. I am writing this on a Mint system and have reached the point where I don't even bother with dual boot any longer. If I can't do it with Linux I just ignore it. I do have access to a Windows machine if I really REALLY have to make use of some software that only runs on that platform. But for my day to day computer use reading mail, blogging, listening to podcasts, editing photos and digital modes for amateur radio Linux does it all quite nicely. Is it perfect? No it is not. Is it superior to Microsoft Windows? Absolutely without a doubt.
Labels: posting screwup movies Linux amateur radio
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
The Blind Side gets an Oscar
I haven't watched the Oscar awards on television for several years now despite that fact that I have always been an avid movie fan. In recent years Hollywood has forgotten how to make good movies. I worked for a theater owner who used to tell me that if Hollywood made good movies people would come to the theater to see them. Long before "Field of Dreams" was produced Joe knew that "if you build it they will come".
I feel that Hollywood has lost touch with their audience especially when it comes to what is fit to put on the big screen. There have been some great movies come out of tinsel town in recent years and not all of them were rated G. We have however come a long way from the days when Clark Gable paid a hefty fine, actually the studio payed it for him, for saying the word "dam" at the end of "Gone With The Wind". It used to be that using a four letter word starting with F would get a film an R rating while now days it barley rates a PG-13. This despite in some cases it is used in every other sentence in the script.
I don't live in a fantasy world and I know those words are used everyday. I have even uttered a few of them myself on occasion. I do however try my best not to use them even when I'm angry and I really see no reason that they have to be incorporated in a part of our culture that is labeled "entertainment". It is just not necessary. Likewise it seems that whatever the cause celeb happens to be this year that Hollywood seems to have to make it the center piece of their efforts at Oscar time. Whatever the message is be it anti war, gay rights, perceived government corruption in foreign policy and the list goes on. Much like the crowd in Washington DC the makers of movies have come to believe that their little worlds in the inner circles of New York and Los Angeles are not only what real life is like but that it is the way the rest of the country views it.
I have been a big fan of movies since I was a teenager and have sat through some real stinkers when it comes to feature length films. I had never gotten up and walked out on a film though until I went to see "Natural Born Killers". I went to see it because it had an excellent cast and the "buzz" was that it was going to be an outstanding film. I had never in my life seen such a waist of time, talent and film in my life. This was in 1994 and I have to say that things have not improved a lot since then.
That is why I was surprised that "The Blind Side" got a nomination this year for best picture of the year even though it didn't win. It also brought a nomination for Sandra Bullock in the best actress category for which she did take home the statue. The reason I was surprised was that this film doesn't fit in with how I think Hollywood looks at our society. It also portrays religion in a favorable light something that is extremely rare these days. Linda and I went to see this movie several weeks ago and I wrote a review of it here on the blog. You can read it here THE BLIND SIDE
if you like.
I'm not sure if the terrible economy has gotten the attention of those producing films to rethink their product or if the changing technology is making them think that if they don't amend their ways that they could find themselves in the position of the recording industry in a few years. What I do know is that movies like The Blind Side offer a glimmer of hope that they can produce movies that tell a story, entertain the public and while doing so and make them buckets full of money along the way.
I don't expect every movie to be one that you could take a ten year old too. There is a place for movies geared to an adult audience in the film industry. Even those however don't have to go out of their way to shock the senses of the audience to draw them into the theater. It is my sincere hope that the industry is waking up to this fact and will continue to make more movies like The Blind Side.
Labels: movies Oscar The Blind Side entertainment