Tech Net News 01-04-2020

Strain in a figure-8 knot, courtesy of Joseph Sandt.

The holiday season is now just a fond memory, and real life has returned. If you need a break, come on out to the next club meeting, this Tuesday, January 7th. We’ll hear a presentation from Dr. Tim Holzheimer, N6DIY, about HF amplifiers, and from our club leadership about our plans for Winter Field Day on January 25th. We’ll be participating in K5T, a multi-club special event station sponsored by the DARC, IARC, and MARS. The station will be in the same location as our previous Summer Field Day, Alford Media at 296 Freeport Pkwy, Coppell, TX 75019.

Don’t forget that the FT-8 2-meter Monday night nets are still going on at 7:30 local time on 144.174 USB. Give them a try if you can!

UPDATE: Bill, N5BB, reminded us that the Cowtown Hamfest is coming up on January 17th and 18th, 2020. The Irving Hamfest will be taking place on March 7th, 2020. Gus, W5GUS, let us know that the Garland Amateur Radio Club will host a 5-week Technician licensing class starting on Tuesday, February 18th, 2020. Also, the 2020 SKYWARN class schedule was posted today.

In news from the world of amateur radio:

Our ARRL Section Manager, Steve Smith KG5VK, has been spreading the word that the FCC has formally proposed to abolish the amateur 3.3 GHz band. More information is available from the ARRL.

Hams should be aware that there may be emergency communication taking place related to the wildfire outbreak in Australia. The suggested frequencies for emergency use in that area are 3.600, 7.110, 14.300, 18.160, and 21.360 MHz. While I’m not aware of any formal nets, it’s always good to follow good amateur practice and listen carefully before transmitting.

On a hopeful note, the ARRL reports that two sunspots from the new solar cycle, Cycle 25, have appeared.

In news from the world of science:

This is old news, but it’s pretty neat: remember how you were taught about symbiosis in school? Your teacher would have started by talking about lichens, which are a partnership between a fungus and an algae. It turns out that’s not true. They’re a partnership between two different fungi and an algae. Whoops!

Imagine that there were a contagious, fatal disease that can be spread by coughing. You don’t have to imagine it…it’s called tuberculosis, and it’s becoming more and more drug-resistant. There’s a vaccine, but it’s almost totally ineffective. Now, doctors have found that by giving the same vaccine intravenously they can raise its effectiveness to 90%!

If you were a Scout, you were probably taught to tie a square knot, but not a granny. Why does one knot work better than another? The answer is often not clear. Now, a form of rope that changes color to show how much strain it’s under is helping researchers understand which knots work, and which knots are all for naught.