Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year in 2013!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

This Robot Can Jump!

Check this jumping robot that can go 30 feet high in the air.

Wonder how it would work with a long antenna wire attached going over a tree branch?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Roku Review

A few weeks ago I purchased a RoKU on sale at Radio Shack.

For those not familiar with Roku, it is a small box that lets you stream video from the Internet to your TV. It comes with a few basic channels and includes a channel store to add your own. Most of the channels are free and the offering is very large depending on you interests. Hookup takes a few minutes and is very simple.
Two are my favorites are Ham Nation and AmateurLogicTV. Watching these on the TV beats the small screen of the computer any day. If your a fan of old B type movies Roku offers a large selection also at no additional cost. Even caught one of The Bowery Boys movies last Sunday, classic TV. Trying out my free Netflix subscription for a month and the family seems to enjoy it.

The only thing it does not include is any live free stream major sports. The various NHL, MLB, NBA, packages are available but your local teams would be blacked out.  It seems like streaming video is the wave of the future. Cable TV and Verizon Fios reports large numbers of customer cutting the cord. In my house the majority of TV viewing is on the major networks, CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, WOR, and WPIX. I am a big Rangers hockey fan but with the strike my sports viewing is very low now. My Fios offers a few 100 channels but if your not watching them its a waste of money.

The Verizon Internet is extremely fast, no complaints with the speed. In the new year I want to pick up a antenna and experiment and see what free TV has to offer in my area. Between free antenna TV, Roku, and Netflix, this will offer more than enough content to watch and hopefully save a few bucks in the long run.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Very Sad.....

Say a prayer for the kids.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Key Ideas

In my quest for a super compact field station go bag I am in search of a small straight key. Right now I have a cheap Philmore key and a very sturdy Junker key.

I love the Junker key with the lid but that has a permanent home in the shack. Morse Express offers a line of hand-crafted keys from LTA. I have my eye on the GMP series straight key with an affordable price under $50.00.

The ARRL straight key night is a few weeks away, this key would sure come in handy.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy Holidays NOAA Style

We all heard this voice before.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Real Big Brother Stuff

Just read Verizon went in for a patented DVR that can watch and listen to everything in your living room. This sounds like the ultimate spy tool.

Cameras everywhere now they want to come inside your house.
I am sure there would even be an extra charge for the box.

Time to cut the cable cord one of these days.

Its getting out of hand!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Happy Friday!

This week seemed to fly by considering the two days off last week for the holidays.

On the radio side, tomorrow afternoon will re-string my stealth wire antenna that came down during the nor'easter storm a few weeks ago. The cause was the weight of the snow on the line, not the wind. I am a big fan of magnet wire antennas, mine did stay up and made it through Hurricane Sandy. That is one tough antenna in my book.

Maybe even an hour or so of QRP would be nice this weekend.

Last Friday I picked up a Roku streaming device for my viewing pleasure. A very cool box and a review will follow in the next few days.


Friday, November 23, 2012

This & That

Hope everyone had a wonderful time with family and friends yesterday or if you were alone you made the day special in your own way.

We spent the day at my brothers house with plenty of food, desserts, and football on the tube in the background. It was a very nice Thanksgiving. Last night was sweatpants and relaxing with a beer or two.

Today is the big shopping day titled Black Friday. With the stores and highways packed it is a good day to stay at home, always some cleaning up to do in my garage and basement. Besides with free shipping online and great prices why fight the crowds.

I have a small fish pond in my yard, so while its still somewhat warm this afternoon, going to pack up the filters and pump and get ready for old man winter. No fun sticking your arm in a freezing cold pond in December.

Did a quick look this morning on Amazon for amateur radio products and this very affordable HT caught my eye.

BaoFeng UV-5R 136-174/400-180 MHz Dual-Band DTMF CTCSS FM HT. Prices start at 36.99 and up with free shipping, can't beat it. This would make for a great back up HT to keep in the car glove compartment or when running around. It feels like I spend hours in my car picking up my kids or waiting for them, most times with a good book. But a cheap HT would help pass the time.

OK time to go read a few blogs and maybe look for a deal or two.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Self-Taught Teen

A very impressive story about a 15 year old homebrewer. It is amazing what he goes through to source and locate his parts and building materials.

Best of luck in the future to this young builder!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Day Late!

On November 13, Felix Unger was asked to leave his place of residence, that request came from his wife!!

A classic show!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nat Geo Preppers Show

Over the weekend I watched a few episodes of Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic channel. An very interesting show which offers the viewer a few solid ideas for surviving a disaster or worse case scenario.

Some of the prepping was over the top but if anything ever does happen on a large scale these people will be in pretty good shape. I witnessed first hand 3-4 females on a gas line wanting to fight each other last week, so things can get out of hand fairly quickly. In this day and age, adult females no less fighting over gasoline, who would have ever thought you would see that. Maybe this show is on the money with being ready.

Besides the usually supplies I was happy to see one guy mentioned ham radio as a useful tool of communication when the lines go down. Guns and bullets were big on the show. One of my work customers mentioned to me he has stocked up on bullets to be used for protection or to trade for food.

The new season begins tonight on Nat Geo channel, should be interesting.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Future Emergency Ideas

It has been a few days since the two storms have passed and everyday life is back to normal. The parents beach house in hard hit Ortley Beach is another story and we might not know the overall damage for another week or more.

My home lost 25 shingles from the super high winds and were reattached by my roofer at no cost, he is on the holiday gift list. During the storm we lost power at 10:00PM and did not get it back for ten days. Thanks to my neighbor for lending me a receptacle on his generator. This kept the basics going and the house semi warm with space heaters. We owe them a dinner out over the next week or two. A few items on my to do list for future emergencies include:

Stock up on water supply
Portable lanterns
Two thick extension cords
Small TV antenna in case my Verizon Fios goes out

A big help were my sleeping bags which kept my kids warm at night.
This list is sure to grow but its a good start. This is the second year in a row we lost power, 3 and 10 days.

Here's a tree that came down across the street from my house. When it hit the ground my house shook. Just glad it fell in that direction.

Another Successful Jumper

This is just a fun video to watch.

You have to love these YouTube videos!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Well 10 days later my power just came on at 4:00PM this afternoon.

It has been a long cold week and will be glad to get back into a routine again starting tomorrow. My neighbor was able to keep me going with 1 outlet from his generator which powered the TV, light, and a space heater.

It was a pleasure to heat up the house and tonight will be nice the read the local newspaper.

10 days is a very long time without power.

More tomorrow.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Boat Ride Anybody?

This goes into the just when you think you have seen it all category.
Check out this nut taking his boat out into the ocean yesterday afternoon.

No one was wearing life jackets on board.

Heard he made it back OK.

So far at my location winds are picking up but suppose to get worse after 1:00 PM eastern time. Storms is 300 miles away from New York City and making the turn now toward Jersey shore. Land fall between Atlantic City and Cape May, NJ.

Hoping to keep power but they are saying the winds will be at the peak between 3PM to 3AM.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ready Or Not

It always seems like I am missing something or never fully prepared for storms but as they say do the best you can.

The yard is cleaned up and batteries are in charging mode just in case they are needed. The storm still is very strong but might not be a cat 1 when it comes ashore. Either way this is one wicked storm with 50-70 mph winds. With all the tress overhanging power lines in my town I expect power to be lost for 3 days plus, hope I am wrong.

I might even jump on 40 meter CW tonight as long as the stealth antenna stays up. As I cleaned my gutters yesterday it almost came down as I hit it with the ladder.

Here are a few links if you want to follow and see the storms live.
Seaside Heights, NJ
Island Beach State Park, in NJ
Monmouth Beach - check out the sand piled up for protection.
Ortley Beach - this is the beach I go to.
Manasquan Inlet
NY radio stations 1010 Wins and 880 WCBS AM.

Stay safe.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

2013 Ramsey Catalog

For all you kit lovers the 2013 Ramsey Electronics catalog is available as a download.

Ramsey has been around for 40 years with a solid reputation for good quality kits and products in general. The instruction manuals are also easy to follow which makes building their kits much more enjoyable and relaxing. We have enough stress these days.

If you decide to tackle a kit or two in the future head over to J-Tron and see what they offer. I hear he is one hell of a nice guy. (very cheap plug)

Have a nice day!

Friday, October 26, 2012


There is only one thing on every one's mind in NJ and NY since yesterday and that is Hurricane Sandy.

A few names I have heard so far, a super storm, perfect storm, and the odd name of "Frankenstorm". Whatever you want to call it this is one scary storm, due to make landfall along the Jersey shore on Monday. More than a few of these beaches are fragile already with small size beaches and homes close by. The timing of high tide and the full moon will make for some very serious water levels up and down the coast as well as inland with streams and rivers. Rain prediction is 5 - 10 inches. This area is not prepared for a category 1 storm.

Tomorrow will a major day for getting ready and putting all the yard stuff away, cleaning gutters, checking the water and battery supplies, etc, etc, and etc. The one item I do not have is a generator so unless I can borrow some power from my neighbors, I would guess power will be out for days. Might be time to invest in a generator down the road, this weather seems too be getting worse every year. I would have picked one up and as you can imagine they are all sold out. This is where my camping equipment comes in handy, sleeping bags, small stove, lights.

The Weather Channel has been a great source for information. They just said might be weeks without power, yikes. After hearing all this might load up on extra water for the family.
More updates tomorrow.

Stay safe to all my friends along the storms path and get ready.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Antenna Coupler

In my quest for a better signal and overall low SWR I decided to experiment with a simple antenna coupler.

Straight from the web pages of AA5TB's very fine site, the 40M to 17M End Fed Antenna Coupler.

A very simple to make coupler requiring only a few components. The only items I need is the polyvaricon variable capacitor and a housing case. I spent sometime going to a few garage sales yesterday looking for old transistor radios to steal the capacitor but had no luck. I have to look around my basement for an old radio. As my wife mentioned why bother going to a garage sale, just head down to the basement. I did not find any humor in that comment. Basements in general are meant to house stuff, old and new.

As for the housing I will pick up something this week. it will be interesting to see the effects of this coupler instead of a ground on my end fed.

The sun just came out and temperatures at 64 F might be a good time for a backyard DXpedition.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Follow Me On Twitter!

I decided to open up a Twitter account after finding myself following a few people on the side. My company has one but I try and keep those posts business related only.

Plus Twitter is easy to update on the go.

If your interested follow me with link on right.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

New Antenna Plus QRP

On Saturday afternoon I decided to go with a ultra stealth mode antenna which is just a roll of Philmore Mfg 30 AWG magnet wire, part number 12-1230.

Total antenna length about 35 feet, one end attached to a fence on the corner of my property with a small plastic bottle cap as an insulator, other end straight up to the second floor window. With the help of the antenna tuner and a good solid ground, this has the makings of an easy end fed wire antenna.

If anyone is looking for a hidden stealth wire antenna, I would recommend magnet wire all the way, appearance with a cloudy background yesterday and bright blue skies today, the wire is almost invisible unless you focus you eyes and look for it (of course I did not have my glasses on). It looks like part of a long spider web from the ground.

Regarding the strength test, time will tell but later this week the call is for rain in the forecast. It will be interesting if its still airborne. The roll of magnet wire consists of over 1,600 feet, so if it comes down it's no big deal, plenty left over to rewire if I have to and it only takes a few minutes.

I was very happy with the results last night on 20 meters, I put my call out to a CQ from Chano, EA8UP and was answered, 10 watts SSB to the Canary Islands, my signal was a 5-4. I was just excited to make the contact.

That made my Saturday big time!
QRP is fun!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

License Renewed

Just renewed my license and the new expiration date is year 2022. Is it just me but looking at these future dates is just plan scary? Wish I was still in high school!

First day of fall today, going apple picking with the family, a fun day for sure. Might even have to pick up an apple pie but trying not to add the extra pounds. They go on easy but are a killer to get rid of.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

MAKE Presents: The Transistor

Over the past few days I have been reading up on the transistor and came across this simple video from Make Magazine. It even includes an easy transistor circuit to wire up with a hand full of components.

Make has a series of easy informative online videos describing various electronic components. Might have to put up a new component video once a week as a refresher for myself.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

11 Years Ago

We always have to remember what took place on a September day 11 years ago.

Today has the same feel as that day with a clear cool day and blue sky's overhead.

Have a nice day everyone!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Unofficial Summer End

Labor day is the unofficial end of summer even if the calendar says we still have a few more weeks left.

School is back in session on Tuesday and Wednesday for both my kids, time flies as your having fun and of course getting older. The family did have a few days at the Jersey shore, ocean temps around 78 deg., nice. I also was able to cast a line into the ocean as my son was the camera man. But the wonderful part was the family time together on the beach and the backyard picnic we had with the parents, brothers, and kids that make it all so very special.

I am looking forward getting outside and play radio before the super cold weather pays us a visit. Plus the bonus is the parks and beaches have less people. My goal this fall is set up and operate a station on the beach, that would be very cool.

First day of fall is September 22, not ready to let summer go yet.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Evening Post

I have always been a big fan of scanner listening since my first handheld with four plug in crystals back in high school.

This required going to Radio Shack with your list of local frequencies and the counter person would pull them out from behind the counter. Can you image the blank stare you would get now if you asked for a certain crystal? I ended up selling it but now wish I didn't, moved up to a Fox desktop model programmable which was decent but not great. I finally graduated to a Uniden BC 200XLT that I still have, just in need of another battery.

If you want to get into the action and do not have a scanner just click on the following link for online listening across the United States.

This site includes police, fire, airports, repeaters, etc. So far I have been listening to the police in Newark, NJ, Essex County, not a nice area to say this least, just heard a call for gun shots.

A good bet would also be New York City considering the amount of nonsense going on. Yesterday at the Empire State Building was a good example of another person snapping, seems like this is happening more. Maybe you have some favorites you would like to share? Scanner listening is like watching the FOX TV show cops but you hear the action live from the safety of your own home.

On a sad note Neil Armstrong passed away today at 82 years old. The first man on the moon.

A true hero!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Long Wire Antenna

Today was a perfect sunny day with low humidity for a change to enjoy the outdoors with a backyard set up and homebrewed antenna.

I decided to make a quick run to the dollar store for some speaker wire. A 100ft spool of 18AWG costs a few bucks, so much for the dollar store. Hooked up one end to my Mr. Longarm painters pole and about 48 feet of wire attached to a 4-1 LDG balun with another wire attached to my metal 6 foot fence for grounding. My LDG Z11 tuner did the work on 20 and 40 with an swr of 1.5.

The 40 meter band was very quiet on the CW side and had no success with my R40/20 QRP rig. The 20 meter band was better but no takers to my 5W cq call, plus some of those stations were super fast. I needed to make a contact to see if this wire setup would work. Decided to hooked up my FT-857D and jumped on 20 meter SSB and make two contacts with Germany and Spain.

This setup still needs tweaking, maybe putting up the pole support in a corner of yard to get more wire in the air and extending the pole to its max height. The ground is also a very important part so might play around to improve. I always like to try new antennas and setups in general before going to the field.

Still happy with this quick and easy setup.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Passed Right By

We ended up with a thunder storm which was not severe. Some parts of New York received the very high winds. Once the trees come down on the power lines that is when the trouble starts.

I am hoping for a very nice weekend with a Sunday in the yard radio set up.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Severe Weather

Severe weather is on its way tonight for the NJ/NY area. Just finished securing all the lawn chairs and anything else that can fly away.

With all the bright red colors on the radar this storm does not look fun.

Hope everyone listens to the warnings and stays inside.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Component Rock

That is one heck of a drum set!

L.E.D. Zeppelin

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vacation Time

Just returned from a very hot week at the Jersey shore with temps in the 90F + range. The refreshing ocean was in the seventies and very nice.

On the radio side I packed the FT-857D and a few ham sticks but with the family activities going on never had a chance to power up. I plan on making up for that this coming weekend.

Sunset over the bay.

I missed one heck of a fast moving storm Saturday that broke the heat wave. Check out the video of a girl jumping from the sky ride at Seaside Heights, NJ when the lighting started flying. I saw an interview with her on TV this morning and she was OK. The jump was 35 feet into the sand helped break the fall.

Surprised the ride operators did not get a storm warning.

The question is would you have jumped?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Ramsey Electronics Giveaway

Hey Kit Fans!

Be sure to enter the Ramsey Summer Nights Giveaway. I sound like the announcer in between innings at the local baseball game.

But these days anything for free is OK in my book, money is not growing on trees.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lightning Strike

Check out this photo from today's NY Daily news of a lightning strike on the Empire State Building from yesterday's storm.

I bet King Kong even went inside for this one.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

LED Throwies

From Make Weekend Projects - Extreme LED Throwies!

Great ideas for LED's with very simple circuits using an LED and coin cell battery. LED Throwies have to be the simplest circuit around.

Today's is going to be another hot one in NJ with temps reaching 97 F.

Stay cool!

Monday, June 11, 2012

June CQ Magazine

The June edition of CQ magazine was delivered this afternoon and it looks like another good read. The QRP edition a few months back was wonderful.

A quick glance at the contents page showed a few QRP and portable articles which are always a favorite of mine. I always get a few great tips and ideas to use when out in the field or better yet these sometimes get me motivated to get up and go.

Between the local paper, hockey playoffs, & Chef Ramsey yelling in my living room tonight I will add in CQ Magazine.

Enjoy your evening.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ramsey 20 Meter Kit

Started the first outdoor build this afternoon with the Ramsey 20 Meter CW Transmitter kit # QRP20.

This kit includes a crystal for 14.060 MHz and when complete puts out a big 1 watt of RF. Installed a handful of components and will finish up next weekend. The heat outside was steamy so I moved the operation from the picnic table to the garage which was a few degrees cooler.

So far this looks like a simple fun build, can't wait to try it out!

Outdoor Soldering

This afternoon might be prime time to break out the soldering iron and build a kit under the umbrella in the yard.

Weather forecast is a sunny warm day with a high of 93 deg. F. As long as the humidity stays away should be OK. First off is a trip down the street for the towns Memorial Day Parade. It is a small parade but always nice to see and support the town and remember what this day is all about.

More details later if the build starts.

Happy Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sunspot Sunrise

This is from the pages of

"Sunspot AR1476 is so large, people are noticing it without the aide of a solar telescope."

What a great picture!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mouser Video

Mouser Electronics has one fine tuned operation.

Jerry Mouser started selling parts out of his garage, what a great story.

 I still would like to know the overall cost of mailing out that big catalog.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chat With The Designers

The New Jersey QRP Club has put together an excellent series of podcasts covering various topics for the amateur radio operator and electronics enthusiast.

So far I have listened to Favorite Parts & Kit Suppliers and Intro To The Digital Modes.

These podcasts go into great detail offering the listener different ideas and approaches as well as a learning aid into the subjects covered. This afternoon I am going to listen to Schematic Capture and PCB Layout.

The podcast broadcasts live every Tuesday at 8:00PM eastern time.
Be sure to check out the growing list of topics.

Thank you to the NJ QRP Club for taking the time and putting these wonderful podcasts on the web for all of us to enjoy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Google Drive

The new Google Drive looks promising for storing and sharing photos and information in general. I have a nice assortment of pictures on my hard drive and have been looking for a safe home before this computer goes. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

9 Year Old DIY Cardboard Arcade

Check out this 9 year old's cardboard arcade.

I would invest in the fun pass for 500 plays.
Great job Caine.

A future Entrepreneur in the making!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

This has turned out to be the perfect Sunday, a cloudy cool slight drizzle outside and some good reading, Tick Tock by James Patterson. Exciting detective story in New York City trying to catch a killer. Just finished Sail by the same author, great read all the way!

Over the past few weeks I have been reviewing my code using Just Learn Morse Code, wonderful program. I try and do 20 minutes plus a day, my spring training for future outdoor portable operating.

Yesterday I wired up a QRP circuit on a bread board but smoked the first resistor when power is hooked up. Glad resistors are very cheap, went through a handful so far. It must be the schematic, can't be me. :)

Enjoy what is left of the weekend!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

WNEW Channel 5 New York

Memories of WNEW Channel 5 New York!!

Watching this video makes me wonder what happened to the great TV shows we all watched as kids. No comparison to what is on the tube now.

Classic good family shows.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Intro Loop Video

A very good video on how loop antennas work.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


The magnetic loop antenna has always fascinated me with its small stealth appearance. I have been doing some homework on adding a loop to my assortment of antennas. Plus it would fit in with my small lot in NJ.
The easy way is to purchase one but that comes with a rather large price tag which I would rather not do at this time. The MFJ 1788 Hi Q Loop is $469.00 or the Alex Loop with shipping is $266.00. I have read very good reviews on both.

Which leaves me option B, pick up a capacitor, copper pipe/tubing and make my own. Plenty of information on the web to get me started, if I finish with a working antenna is another story. This will be an interesting warm weather project.

Years ago I picked up a 2M loop for SSB for around $79.00, still have it and works well.

In the meantime here are a few interesting loop links for your reading pleasure.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Resistor Color Code Calculator

Here is another handy (lazy) way to find your resistor values.

I used it this week when bread boarding a transmitter circuit and it is useful if your meter is not around.

Now if I can only get that first resistor in my QRP circuit to stop smoking I will be set.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Paper Airplanes

This is one well built paper airplane.
Enjoy your Friday!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hack a Day

Here's a very cool site for all your hacking fun and ideas.

Hack a Day

Nice Monday reading material.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

State Park Saturday

Had some free time Saturday afternoon to play radio so I grabbed my nap shack, hamstick, and battery and went to Shepherd Lake, which is part of Ringwood State Park in NJ.

After a quick walk by the water and a few photos I set up my car station on 20 meters SSB. Only had two contacts in my hours time before a slight drizzle of rain started.

Nice & quiet
First contact was a special event station in Germany, DM800ANH. It took me about 5 minutes of listening before I got the call correct. (I was not the only one) Next was a group of guys in Wisconsin on the air in a house rotating operators, drinking beer, eating and telling stories. Sounds like they had a great time for all. The call was WB9AZA. They plan on doing this once a year. I can't wait to see that qsl card.

View from the car
The good thing about going to the State Parks this time of year is the cost, free or a low admission to get in off season and less people around in general. I am a member of the parks on the air Yahoo group so my next trip I will work on the 5 plus contacts necessary to activate a park, should be fun.
Bear Country...Yikes!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Indoor Dipole

I was experimenting this afternoon with an indoor dipole made last weekend for 10 meters. This was hung up in the upstairs bedroom of my cape, no attic available but up a decent height on the second story.

So far no contacts for the half hour attempt calling cq with 10 watts SSB. Overall the band seem quite except for 1 or 2 stations. This set up will need some more time before I am satisfied. I also have the option for a indoor Buddi-pole but the reviews are mixed on the Yahoo board, but that will not discourage me from trying it out next weekend.

The outside temps in NJ were at a high of 28 F with a biting wind, so today turned out to be a lazy Sunday.

Anybody have any favorite indoor antennas home brewed they wish to share please let me know. Commercial antennas are an option if the price is right.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Outdoor Pictures

Small Stream
My view on the hill

Cold winter Sunday afternoon

A few deer on the way home
Photos from last weeks adventure in New York.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Education Links # 2

IX. Logic, Words, & MemoryX. Languages
XI. Music
XII. History
XIII. Business, Finance, & Investing
XIV. Food, Nutrition, & Cooking
XV. Survival Tips
XVI. Other

Mind Tools - Memory improvement techniques

The Nizkor Project - List of logical fallacies

Wikipedia's List of Logical Fallacies

Wikipedia's List of Figures of Speech

Tool Kit for Rhetorical Analysis

KnoWord - Expand your vocabulary - Learn new words & explore language

Brain Workshop - A Dual N-Back Game

Argument Mapping Tutorials

Philosophy Bites - Podcasts of top philsophers

X. LANGUAGESBasic Composition - Reading & Writing

BBC Languages - Beginner courses in multiple languages

Foreign Service Institute Language Courses

Language Guide - Foreign language vocabulary, grammar, & readings

eLanguage School - Free foreign language lessons online

Free Online Language Courses via

DuoLingo - Learn a language for free & simultaneously translate the web

Babel Nation - Learning languages online for free

Transparent Language - Language learning software & resources in over 100 languages

Survival Phrases - Learn essential travel phrases, tips, and insights

Talk to Me in Korean

Chinese Toolbox - Software for learning Chinese through reading

LiveMocha - World's largest language learning community

American Sign Language (ASL) University

Handspeak - Sign language

Signing Savvy - Your sign language resource

XI. MUSICMusic Theory - Lessons, exercises, & tools

Ear Training & Music Theory Software

Basic Music Theory Music Education - Music theory

Teoria - Music Theory Web

Ultimate Guitar - Lessons, techniques, & styles

Justin Guitar - The best guitar instruction on the web

Chorder - Chord fingering and guitar resources

Funk University - Assembly of Music's Finest

Play Bass Now - Lessons, licks, and low notes

How to Play Piano

XII. HISTORYTeacher Resources - Western Civilization (52 half-hour video programs)

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Timeline of Art History


Google Advisor

Google Finance

MarketWatch by WSJ

Main Street - Business & financial headlines & advice


Jamie's Home Cooking Skills

Chef Todd Mohr's Web Cooking Classes (YouTube)

Nutrition Data - Self nutrition data; know what you eat - Smart nutrition & practical tips

Choose My Plate via USDA

The World's Healthiest Foods

Calorie King

Start Making Choices - Simple ideas for living healthier on a budget

Eat Right Nutrition Tips

XV. SURVIVAL TIPSOff Grid Survival - Wilderness and urban survival skills

Backwoods Magazine - Self reliance and self sufficiency

Survival Topics - Your online survival kit

Wilderness Survival - Free info covering all aspects of survival

Discovery's Worst-Case Scenario Video Clips

XVI. OTHERAdvanced Yoga Practices - Directory for Main Lessons

Creative Live - A live, worldwide creative classroom

Sunday, January 29, 2012

NY State Portable

Today was a nice sunny day with the weather man calling for a high temperature of 45 F, I decided to spend the afternoon outside and explore a new place to set up a station. After kicking around a few places I settled on Harriman State Park in New York over the New Jersey border.
I went camping and fishing in the past at Harriman and know of a very nice overlook with a great view of the surroundings. Plus with the cold winter months no bears or snakes to meet up with, just deer and they are always nice to look at.  The equipment was on the heavy side but with the help of my backpack the short hike from the car was no big deal, just had to be careful crossing the small stream, wet feet on a cold day would have me back in the car super fast. The temps ended up at 40 F mark and the lake in the distance had a covering of ice.
Time to unpack

Equipment List:
Weaker battery
MFJ-259B (lowest SWR for the Buddipole)
Water & snacks (muffins)
Pad, pencil, & camera

BuddiPole Antenna
Ft-857D & Accessories
Only two contacts were made, a Northern Ireland station, 2I0BSA came back to my cq call and also WB8QEY from TN, both on the SSB side. My battery was not fully charged when I left so it did not last long. I tried for one more station in England but he said I was coming over at a S1 and very weak on his end. Decided to start packing up after an hour or so when the winds started to pick up.  Only two contacts but was very nice to get outside.

I can't wait to do it again.

Great View!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Education Links #1

Wonderful list of links with something for everyone courtesy of Google Plus.


I. Top Picks
II. Universities and Higher Education
III. General Collections
IV. How-to & DIY
V. Studying with Peers
VI. Online Books, eBooks, & Journals
VII. Computers, Software, & Programming
VIII. Science & Math

Khan Academy

Academic Earth - Online courses from the world's top scholars

TED - Technology, Entertainment, & Design

MIT Open CourseWare

Stanford Engineering Everywhere

Open Yale Courses

About U. - Collection of free online courses from


YouTube EDU

The Open University - Study at the OU

University of the People

University of Reddit

Open Culture - The best free cultural & educational media on the web

VideoLectures - Exchange ideas & share knowledge

CosmoLearning - Free educational website with thousands of courses & documentaries

II. UNIVERSITIES & HIGHER EDUCATIONLecture Fox - Free university lectures

More Open Courses:
Open Courseware Consortium

Harvard Extension School - Computer Science & Technology

Johns Hopkins University

Kaplan University

Notre Dame

Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study


Utah State

Google in Education

ArsDigita University - Computer science and math lectures

UC Berkeley Webcast - Central service for online video & audio for learners around the globe

UC Berkeley Video Courses - Free education online

Capilano University

Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

Delft University of Technology

Rice University Connexions - A place to view and share educational modules

Stanford on iTunes U - Stanford-related digital audio content

UC Irvine

UC San Diego Podcasts

University of Chicago's Mind Online - Thought-provoking samples of critical thinking & debate

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

University of Massachusetts

University of Michigan

University of Southern Queensland

University of Sydney - Podcast episodes

University of Virginia - Podcasts & webcasts

University of Washington - Computer Science & Engineering

Utah Valley University - Online courses & open educational resources

YouTube Channels:

UC Berkeley

University of New South Wales


III. GENERAL COLLECTIONSFree Video Lectures - 800+ Online Courses and 19,000+ Videos from Top 30+ Universities on 35+ Categories

100 Intro Open Courses on Everything You've Ever Wanted to Learn

Annotum (formerly Google's Knol)

IncrediCampus - Lectures and preparation/admission advice for college & graduate schools

Learners TV - Thousands of downloadable video lectures on liberal arts, science, engineering, and more

Online Education Database - 200 free online classes to learn anything

Infoplease - All the knowledge you need

MERLOT - Multimedia educational resource for learning and online teaching

Internet Archive

101 Online Self-improvement Resources

IV. HOW-TO & DIYWikiHow - The how-to manual that you can edit

How Stuff Works

Wonder How To


Make Magazine

How-to Help & Videos for Dummies

VideoJug - Get good at life

How to Create a Book in Wikipedia

Let's Make Robots

Open Study - Study together

P2P University - Learn anything with your peers

Study Blue - Your digital backpack

WikiBooks - Open-content textbooks collection that anyone can edit

Project Gutenberg

Planet eBook - Home of free classic literature

Open Book Project

The Free Library

Many Books - Ad-free eBooks

WorldCat - Collections & services of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide

iBiblio - The public's library and digital archive

LibriVox - Free public domain audiobooks

The Assayer - Web's largest catalog of books whose authors have made them available for free Free eBook Collection

Scribd - Reading and publishing evolved

Textbook Revolution - Student-run site dedicated to increasing the use of free educational materials

Directory of Open Access Journals

eReaderIQ - Recent non-public domain freebies & price-drop alerts

Longform - New and classic non-fiction articles curated across the web

Flatworld Knowledge - The first and largest publisher of free & open textbooks

VII. COMPUTERS, SOFTWARE, & PROGRAMMINGW3Schools - The world's largest web development site

Google Code University

The New Boston - Step-by-step tutorials for multiple coding languages

UDacity - CS 101

PHP Academy

Better PHP

NetTuts+ - A large collection of coding tutorials

Tutorial Guide - The site for all your tutorial needs

Codecademy - Fun & interactive way to learn how to code

Free Technology Academy - High quality educational material based on free software & open standards

Higher Computing for Everyone - Writing basic programs

HTML 5 Please

Rails for Zombies

Ruby Warrior - Open source game to teach Ruby language

Got API - Documentation search engine

Lynda - Online software training videos

Intro to Linux

Stack Overflow - Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers

DZone - Fresh links for developers

Photoshop & Graphics:Tutorial Hero - Photoshop & Flash tutorials

PSD Tuts+

Photoshop Tutorials

Graphic Tutorials

Photoshop Pack Graphic Design Resources

PSD FanExtra Tutorials

Vandelay Design - Photoshop Tutorial Hall of Fame

Grokking the GIMP

Video CoPilot - Tutorials for VFx & motion graphics

VIII. SCIENCE & MATHScirus - The most comprehensive scientific research tool on the web

Cite Seer X - Access scientific and scholarly knowledge

getCited - Academic database, directory, & discussion forum

National Science Digital Library - Explore, share, create

Science Magazine Podcasts

National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning - Science, Engineering, & Technology

KQED's Quest - Explore science, nature, and environment stories from Northern California and beyond

Freelance Teacher - Videos on physics, chemistry, math, & biology

FHSST - Free high school science texts in physical sciences & math

cK-12 Flexbooks

Paul's Online Math Notes

Reddit's List of Useful Online Math Resources

Math, Better Explained

Astronomy & Outerspace:Space Engine - Free space simulation software

Google Sky

NASA for Students

Scale of the Universe - Interactive Flash Animation

Statistics:Vassar Stats - Concepts and applications of inferential statistics

StatSoft Electronic Statistics Textbook

Connexions Collaborative Statistics

Handbook of Biological Statistics

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Miniatur Wunderland

Check out this amazing video featuring the worlds largest model railway.

In person this must be very cool.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

SMT Training Course

Finished kit with cover over PC board.
Just finished up the Elenco Surface Mount Technology Training Course Kit, part number SM-200K. This was my first experience soldering a kit with just surface mount components, turned into an interesting process.

The finished kit is called a Decision Maker, by pushing a switch six LED's blink in sequence and a buzzer sounds until one LED remains on.

Theory of Operation:

6 LED's are driven by a decimal counter and two oscillators. One oscillator drives the decimal counter and the other drives a buzzer. Two timers control the counter and the oscillators. The decade counter IC 4017 is a 5 stage divide by 10 counter. This IC has 10 outputs and one clear input. Only one out of ten outputs are high, the other nine are low. Every time a pulse is fed to the clock input, output 1 will go low and output 2 will go high. Each clock pulse will move the output one position. When an LED is connected the the output, it will light when output is high. When clock is on LED's flash ON and OFF with the speed on the clock. When the clock stops only one LED remains lit.

This kit uses two oscillators, one produces a frequency of about 200 hertz, and the other is about 20 hertz.The 4011 IC contains four two input NAND gates. Two of these NAND gates are needed to form an oscillator. Both ICs act as inverters, when input is low, output is high. One oscillator controls LED's depending on if pin 1 is high the circuit will oscillate, when pin 1 is brought low, the circuit stops oscillating. The second oscillator produces the buzzer sound.

Parts List:
8 resistors, 4 capacitors, 2 diodes and IC's, 6 LED's,
PC board, buzzer, switch, battery snap.

Construction Notes:
  • Use plenty of lighting, these SMT devices are super small, TINY.
  • I also use a magnifier light with arm attachment to my desk.
  • One device is lined up over pads use clear tape to hold one side down, this make these devices super easy to solder. Never thought I would say that with surface mount.
  • Kit includes four resistors and a spot on board to place them on for practice.
  • Small soldering iron tip is helpful.
  • Funny the time is took me to line up the small devices compaired to your standard leaded parts.
  • Ultra short capacitor leads, no clipping with this kit!
  • Lay off the pre-building coffee drink, steady hands help here.

PC board with components mounted.
Smoke Test:

The LED's lit up the first time but no sound from the buzzer. I double checked both IC's and notice one lead did not have a solid connection to PC board, resoldered and buzzer sounded perfect.

This is a good kit to get your feet wet and build confidence working with surface mount devices.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

X-Wing Fighter Jet

This is a must build when things get tough at the office and you have to go into battle.

Or better yet keep one in the shack just in case someone tries messing with your on air contacts. This stealth jet will be sure to take out their dipole!