Tech Net News 09-21-2019

Credit: AAP/Derek Onley

You won’t forget…because I’ll keep reminding you. Lifewalk is coming up on Sunday, Oct. 6th, 2019. This is an easy event you can use to begin your public service career, or a fun chance to see your friends and keep up your public service skills.

And our next Lecture and Lab is coming up on Saturday, September 28th. Bring $10.00, and you’ll get the Wemos D1 Mini, KY-001 DS18B20 temperature-only sensor, breadboard, jumpers, servo, potentiometer, LEDs & resistors, and a USB micro cable. This will be part 1 of a 2-part Lecture and Lab, but don’t worry: you can attend either session or both.

There are tons of contest and operating opportunities this weekend. Go ahead and click to read more. You want to!

The contest calendar is very busy right now. It’s probably easier to think about ham radio when the sun isn’t trying to bake you.

We’ve got the Washington Salmon Run and the Wisconsin Parks on the Air, but what about all those hams who don’t like the letter W? They’re covered. There’s the New Jersey QSO Party and the New Hampshire QSO Party, but both of those start with an N, and maybe some hams don’t like that letter, either. Don’t worry, help is at hand! The Iowa QSO Party is in progress, as well as the Collegiate QSO Contest. But perhaps you’re an actual college student and you’d prefer an A. Well, this weekend’s two A events are the the ARRL EME Contest (EME is awesome…) and the All-Africa International DX Contest.

And if you’re a little too old for college, or if your rig is getting old, don’t fear; the Classic Exchange is going on, and in that event, you get a bonus based on the age of your transmitter and receiver, or a 25-year bonus for building your rig yourself.

In news from the world of ham radio:

It sounds like North Korea is experimenting with digital broadcasting in the CW portion of the 80-meter ham band. I’d like to see more shortwave broadcasting…but not from this source, and not in one of our bands.

The well-known Canadian radio amateur J Allen, VY1JA, of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, has announced that he’s retiring from ham radio, citing long-term health issues and hearing loss. If you’ve ever gotten a YT contact, it was probably from him or from someone remote-controlling his station. I’m not sure what we’ll do, but I can’t move up there. It’s too cold, and there are no jobs.

For my fellow RTL-SDR enthusiasts, a curated collection of SDR# plug-ins is now available. There’s also been some news about a new, inexpensive, amplified HF receiving loop for USB receiving dongles.

And you may have heard that WWV is broadcasting announcements about its upcoming centennial event.

In news from the world of science:

Photographers across the country have noticed that sunrises and sunsets have become unusually purple this summer and early fall. Researchers at CU Boulder have collected measurements that suggest the cause is the eruption of a Russian volcano called Raikoke.

A toothed seabird fossil found north of Christchurch, protodontopteryx ruthae, is forcing scientsts to re-think the idea that birds evolved in the northern hemisphere.

A toothed seabird fossil found north of Christchurch, protodontopteryx ruthae, is forcing scientists to re-think the idea that birds evolved in the northern hemisphere.

And it’s always good to see that amateurs can still contribute to astronomy. Amateur astronomer Ethan Chappel caught the flash of an asteroid striking Jupiter! If you’d like to make discoveries of your own, you can find out more on-line about the open-source software that was used to DeTeCt the impact.

One thought on “Tech Net News 09-21-2019

  1. I bought one of these low cost amplified magnetic loop antennas (MLA-30 with white bias tee box) last week, and it works well. The antenna diameter is 24 inches. It is a listen-only antenna and has no tuning knob. But the broadband HF response seems acceptable without tuning. I’ve listened in on amateur radio comms, phone and CW, from 80m to 17m. Works fine using either my STL-SDR dongle or my ICOM 746 (being careful not to transmit). The bias-T box used to send DC power to the antenna box preamplifier can be entirely substituted with a direct connection of the antenna cable to the SDR, if the SDR has bias-T capability and is enabled. It works on my STL-SDR V3 and may be slight quieter. There is apparently a potentiometer inside the preamplifier box where gain can be manually adjusted (haven’t tried that). The factory setting is rather high in gain and can be a bit noisy. The antenna can function without power for listening to stronger broadcast SW stations. Not bad for $44 shipped (received in a week from a US shipper). It provides a good option for previewing what’s out there on the HF bands, with reasonable performance within a limited space.