Tech Net News 08-18-2018

This HF dipole array has transmitted conspiracy theories for thousands of miles. Credit:

Don’t forget: the DARC needs volunteers for the show-and-tell at our September 4th, 2018, meeting and for our October 27th, 2018 Tech Net on the Hill event. Please sign up! Show and tell presentations only need to be a few minutes long.

Our next Lecture and Lab is coming up in a week: join us on Saturday the 25th to build an antenna analyzer using your RTL-SDR dongle. You’ll need $45.00, a Windows or Linux laptop computer, a 12V power supply, and your dongle. You might also want to bring a VHF or UHF antenna to analyze! I’ll make a special post with more details in the next couple of days.

I’ve also been reminded that the Plano Balloon Festival, Sept. 21-23, is still looking for volunteers. Most of those who’ve signed up already are folks who have to be there: volunteer coordinators, and the like. More hams are definitely needed for this big and beautiful event.

The contest calendar has two notable events this weekend: the North American QSO Party and the ARRL 10 Gigaherz and Up contest. The QSO party is a pretty short event—you’d better get moving.

In ham news:

The infamous HAARP transmitter in Gakona, Alaska has been used to transmit 40- and 80-meter WSPR signals!

A new article contends that shortwave reception reports, some from hams, could offer the best clues to Amelia Earhart’s fate.

Reception reports from the July 1st, 2018 commemorative transmissions using the famous Swedish VLF transmitter, SAQ, have been published. It’s pretty neat that hams can detect radio transmissions made at audio frequencies!

In news from the world of science:

The exotic pet trade can be dangerous to animals; some parrots are especially troubled by being kidnapped and sold as pets. But new genetic evidence shows that the exotic pet trade in macaws is extremely old, and that it probably involved special communities and trade routes dedicated to the purpose.

It’s well understood in the computer world that adding more workers to a late project will only make it fall further behind. And of course, too many cooks spoil the pot. But new evidence shows that fire ants understand these rules, too; on some critical projects, only a few ants do the work while the rest stay out of the way.

Finally, it’s famous that war can stimulate progress in science, but sometimes environmental science stimulates war: California has declared war on exotic, destructive nutrias. Run away, orange-toothed rodents!