Tech Net News 03-07-2020

This was seriously cool.

Check out the newest club newsletter to learn more about our next Lecture and Lab project—an electronic calculator kit able to do math in base 10 or base 16, and to decode resistor color bands. We’ll be building this kit on March 28th. Hope you can join us!

The contest calendar for the weekend shows some interesting events; there’s the ARRL DX Contest, phone weekend, as well as the Novice Rig Roundup where you need to listen well around the frequency where you’re transmitting—the other station might only be able to transmit on a single, crystal-controlled frequency. There’s also the John Rollins DX contest, for rigs designed before 1970, brought to us by the Antique Wireless Association.

In news from the world of ham radio:

The operators of a German station, DR4K, will be trying to see how quickly they can achieve DXCC using only the FT8 digital mode. Their operation will start on March 9th, and end as soon as they have contacts in 100 countries.

An international St. Patrick’s Day special event will be getting underway later this month, but there’s no word on whether operators will be required to drink cheap, green beer.

And on a sad note, the ARRL reports that an amateur radio club president, Paul McIntyre, KC5JAX, was killed in a knife attack on February 28th at a community facility where he was volunteering.

In news from the world of science:

The Curiosity rover has identified molecules on Mars that are found in materials like coal, and so which could have come from long-ago biological processes, among other sources.

I prefer to share happy news from the world of ornithology, but sometimes bad things happen. Birds don’t have storm spotters or SKYWARN nets, and it looks like at least 1,000 birds were killed by a thunderstorm this week in Sikeston, Missouri.

Have you ever seen one of those pictures where someone meant to photograph something very ordinary…but something newsworthy was happening in the background? Well, that happens in space exploration, too. A student-designed instrument on NASA’s OSIRIS-REX mission, meant to help that probe measure the composition of the asteroid Bennu, discovered a black hole in the constellation Columba.

And at the end of this month, a special era in computing history will come to an end. The famous SETI At Home citizen science project, in which ordinary folks donated the idle time on their computers to help look for alien intelligence, will stop giving out work for citizens to do. The backlog of processed data awaiting attention from scientists has grown to great to justify continued operations. I was a proud member of the “Knights Who Say Ni!” If you were a member of a SETI @ Home team, I hope you’ve found other projects that you can support.