Thursday, August 18, 2005

Real radios glow in the dark 

Here is an interesting in web site for those of us that feel that “real radios” glow in the dark. Radio Daze carries a number of unique items for those that restore old radio sets and return them to life. If you are like me you have fond memories of the “golden age” of radio which the web site defines as the 1920's though the 1950's although I would argue that might even extend into the early 1960's for some.

I don't see much hope for a return to those days over the air but hope that though Pod Casting that perhaps this generation will get to experience some of the magic of the programming that existed on radio at one time.

In the meantime take a look at the Radio Daze web site and see what they have to offer. Make sure to click on the button that takes you to their “show room” where I wish they had more pictures. I know there will be a number of you out there whose hearts will beat just a little faster at the view. Also check out their “links” page. I haven't had a chance to explore many of them yet but I just know there will be some neat web pages in the offing. Enjoy!

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Master Minds on Court TV 

I posted this entry to the Pittsburgh Rail Fan blog but since the promotion for the show mentioned that the thieves used “high tech” gear to monitor police activity I thought this would be of interest to the scanner and monitoring group as well. I plan to record the episode Friday evening in case I'm not around to watch it. If you see it let me know what you thought of it.

Here is an interesting tid bit for you rail fans out there. Court TV has a weekly program called "Master Minds" where they discuss what they call the "The Heist Of A Lifetime" and this weeks episode deals with railroads.

Tuesdays at 10pm
Encore Fridays at 6:30pm

"The ConRail Boyz"

They were the most successful train robbery gang ever. The ConRail Boyz operated for almost a decade in New Jersey, stealing millions of dollars worth of merchandise. Led by Edward Mongon, the gang resembles a highly-organized corporation that even hires ‘freelance employees’ from notorious street gangs like the Bloods. The ConRail Boyz impersonated railroad workers, never carried weapons, and used hi-tech military equipment to monitor police activity. TV-PG V

I missed the Tuesday night airing but will have my TiVO set for Friday.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

"Hamstock" and interesting idea 

Now here is an interesting thought. It came from the Skyview Amateur Radio Club mailing list and I hope Dave doesn't mind me posting it on my blog. First thought let me tell you a little about what has been happening at Skyview which makes an idea like this one a possibility.

I have said in other posting that clubs are the heart of amateur radio and you really have to belong a to a good club to understand that statement. The closest thing I can compare it to is a church congregation. It becomes an extended family with members bonded together through the fellowship of ham radio which is something in and of its self but also as members of the club. They work together toward the common goals of the club and always stand ready to help out other club members when they need it. In addition they promote the hobby to civilians outside of the amateur radio realm. And, generally speaking they have a heck of a good time doing it! To see just how good a time visit the club web site and take a look at the pictures of the recent remodeling job. (aka This Old Clubhouse)

The Skyview Radio Society has a long history having just celebrated their 45th anniversary this past weekend. The club has always done well and been an asset to the local community and the hobby. I have to tell you though that within the last year or two the club has found a new spark (no pun intended) and with leaders like Bob Bastone WC3O, Bob Boehmer WB3FXC, Bill Bell W3RSR and many others making the club grow and expand. With ham radio “aging” over the years it is guys like these that bring new life and interest to the hobby not to mention new hams. They do the club and themselves proud and help the hobby immensely.

Having said that here is the email that prompted me to put these thoughts down in the blog. Like I said I think it is a really good idea.

Hello all,

I was just listening in on a QSO on 147.09 as the discussion centered for a
while on musicians who are hams. There are plenty of them in Pittsburgh, including myself (guitar, bass and a little bit of keyboards), my son (KB3GTJ - guitar) and Rick (AE3C - superb classical guitarist) and Rick's wife (KB3HAR - classical pianist).

I brought the subject up quite a while ago, informally, but I think the idea merits some serious discussion now. How about having the first annual Hamstock at Skyview next year?

Here's the proposed plan... we invite any licensed amateur radio operator who plays a musical instument (and their band if they have one) to perform at the Skyview Hamstock festival. And in between live performances we could
play recorded music from famous ham musicians (i.e. Joe Walsh, Chet Atkins, Ronnie Milsap, Larnelle Harris, Patty Loveless and others I may have missed). I suggest we invite Mr. Walsh to perform live at the event... he's one of my favorites.

The Amateur Radio musicians and their bands get in free and the club runs the event as a fund raiser ($5 or $10 per head?). Sell a bunch of hot dogs and burgers and have a grand ol' time while raising a pile of cash for the
club. And we could make it an all-nighter for the campers and have a nice breakfast the next morning (we could even have an Alka-Seltzer booth).

Just a thought... perhaps we could discuss the idea further at one of the future Skyview buisness meetings???


-Dave Kleber, KB3FXI

If you think this is a good idea also let one of the club members know.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Koreans seek to slow demise of television's dominant technology 

Here is a news story that I found interesting. If you have been in a consumer electronics store with in the last year you know that one of the “hot” items in the market place are those flat panel television sets. I’m sure that one of these days we, like the cartoon family the Jetsons, will be watching flat panel displays that hang from the celling or sit on our desks. If you have a computer in your ham shack and most of us do now days you know the havoc that a CRT monitor can cause for your HF gear and short wave receivers.

I have been hearing rumors for over two years now that Dell will stop shipping monitors based on the cathode ray tube or CRT with their computers in favor of flat panel or flat plasma displays. So far it hasn’t happened so I have to assume that either the price point hasn’t fallen sufficiently on the flat panel or there are a large enough number of CRT displays in the pipe line that vendors can’t afford to just scrap them in favor of the new technology. In either case I keep hoping because I would really like to have one of those flan panels on my computer.

So I found this AP story in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette interesting.

Koreans seek to slow demise of television's dominant technology

Monday, August 15, 2005
By Elliot Spagat, The Associated Press

TIJUANA, Mexico -- Samsung Electronics Co. has an odd sales pitch for one of its new televisions. A slide show for dealers features a drawing of a TV on a tombstone that reads, "The news of my demise is greatly exaggerated!"
The Korean manufacturer is referring to cathode-ray tube, or CRT, televisions -- the heavy boxes that have dominated the business since television was introduced at the New York World's Fair in 1939.

As rival technologies become cheaper, the era of the conventional tube TV is ending.
Yet Samsung and a Korean rival, LG Electronics Co., are refusing to abandon the old-style tube TVs entirely. They continue trying to improve CRTs even as they and other television makers are building more and more factories that churn out super-thin LCD and plasma televisions.

Follow this link for the complete story.

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Something FREE for your ham shack 

Well it looks like the rumor was true. Novel has started an “Open SuSe” project much like Red Had's Fedora. I like SuSe and have been using it for a while now. I bought SuSe 9.1 Professional because it was one of the few distributions that had a GUI front end for database applications included with it.

In any case SuSe has more than enough applications to satisfy the needs of the typical ham shack. There are also a growing number of digital amateur radio programs out there for Linux. So if you would like a great FREE operating system for your ham shack check out the Open SuSe Project site. To learn more about ham radio application for Linux visit the site of this Linux How To document. Enjoy!

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