Friday, April 30, 2010

Sunspot Basics

The May 2010 CQ magazine has an easy to read article on sunspots. The sun plays such an important part in our on air activities. I sometimes do not pay enough attention to the sun and how it effects band conditions.

The write up also mentions NASA's new Solar Dynamics Observatory, that I posted a video of previously. Future photos and videos from the $858 million SDO satellite should be must see type of stuff.

CQ magazine is a nice simply down to earth easy read that the beginner can understand. I just wish they would put more kids on the cover, might help generate a younger crowd to the hobby.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Amazing Video of the Sun

Check out this video of sun surface activity from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

The SDO was launched on Feb. 11, 2010, and is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun.

I have been reading about the band conditions and thorough would be of interest to a few.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturday Night Soldering

Fired up the soldering iron last night and put together the Velleman Super Stereo Ear kit# MK136.

The stereo audio amplifier boosts sound 50 times and looks like fun kit to mess around with. Kit consists of 30 or so components that are soldered on a screen PC board. Assembly is straight forward and easy. Total build time was 90 minutes at a slow pace.

The kit is built around part number NE5532, dual low-noise high speed audio operational amplifier 8 pin dip. Per Fairchild Semi data sheet: The high small signal and power bandwidth provides superior performance in high quality Amp, all control circuits, and telephone applications. Kit also includes two microphones and a 3 cell battery holder that gets attached to the board. Only items required is head phones and batteries. I used a pair of old Walkman type head phones I had.

Time for the smoke test, a flick of the slide switch and the small LED came to life and turned a nice color red. Now with headphones in place and a slight turn of the potentiometer and the sounds around me came to life in stereo.

I took the stereo ear outside in the dark but only heard a car go by. I will have to take this out during the day and see what kind of gossip comes across. Maybe even add two paper towel type tubes to each microphone to aim in the direct of sounds in a distance.

The price is about $9.00 from J-Tron, Inc.

Will post more updates with this kit in the future.

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Blog Added

I came across a interesting blog about a guy who is driving around the world. When the roads stop he ships his truck.

Interesting reading and some cool adventures.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Friday!

The sun is shining and the call is for a nice weekend. Perfect weather for some backyard portable fun, SSB QRP style.

The outdoor furniture is not out yet, so my operating will be a comfortable lounge chair and small table. My only giveaway that I am on the air is my Buddipole antenna. I want to pick up a long crappie fishing pole and string up some magnet wire for a better stealth appearance.

Yes I like to play radio under the radar or low profile. Just hope the bands are in my favor.