Tech Net News 04-21-2018

imd_tx_awdWe’ve got some fun coming up! The next Lecture and Lab, a week from today, should be a blast; I really want a cheap little software defined receiver to play with. The North Texas Mentorfest is coming up next weekend, too.

Our next club meeting on Tuesday, May 1st, is going to focus on the new FT8 digital mode. President Bill tells me that Tim, K5TCJ, will give us a high-level overview of what FT8 is—and what it isn’t—and we’ll see a video of an actual FT8 QSO.

On the air, it’s another active Spring weekend. The QRP in the Field and International Marconi Day events will be wrapping up before the net begins, and the Worked All Provinces of China should provide a challenge to amateurs with well-equipped HF stations and low noise floors. There are also QSO parties in Nebraska, Michigan, and Ontario.

If you’re looking for a really unique listening experience, the historic SAQ station in Sweden will try broadcasting on May 1st…at 17.2 kHz. You’re going to need a long, long wire—but you can receive the station with a computer sound card.

In the world of science:

Tomorrow is Earth Day…does anyone know of any special event stations that will be on the air? Share them during the net!

It’s the year of the bird, and a new science project aims to capture key DNA markers from every living, known species of bird in order to construct a complete family tree of all birds. An added challenge is that scientists sometimes find more bird species.

How would your stir the ocean? A Jupiter-sized stand mixer? Don’t think big; think small. It looks like tiny krill might be instrumental in mixing ocean water.

Scientists are proud to report that they’ve discovered dried mud! No, really, they’re sure they have. It’s crusty and dirty and everything. Of course, it’s not the stuff, but where they found it, that matters.

And finally, when I was in college I was warned to “never trust an electron microscope.” Preparing a sample involves killing it, coating it in plastic, slicing it up, freeze-drying it, coating it with gold, osmium, and/or palladium, and then heating it well above boiling with an intense beam of electrons. What you see is often quite different from what was there when your sample was alive. But scientists are now learning to make 3-d movies of live cells inside of live organisms! What they’re seeing is pretty amazing.