Tech Net News 04-11-2020

We seem to have inherited some string from our ancestors. Credit: M.H. Moncel

Remember, the next Lecture and Lab isn’t cancelled—it will be a virtual event, focusing on using digital modes like FT8 and FT4. The L & L will take place at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 25th. Please see our post about virtual meeting information for instructions on how to participate.

If you didn’t have time last weekend, be sure to check out our latest club newsletter for some cool stuff in the spirit of Old Timer’s Night.

And don’t forget that all our club nets are still going on, including a 10:00 am stuck-at-home net Monday through Friday on the 146.88 repeater. Remember, if Tom can’t make it, you’re welcome to take a turn as net control…and you’re always welcome to bring announcements, real or funny.

The contest calendar is full of events this weekend, with QSO parties in New Mexico, North Dakota,  and Georgia, as well as the ongoing RSGB Hope QSO Party for those stuck at home. In honor of Yuri’s Night, we also have the Yuri Gagarin International DX Contest available.

In news from the world of amateur radio:

Beware of the Wouf-Hong and the Rettysnitch! Or at least, you should beware (and be glad) of the FCC’s new volunteer monitor program: it’s officially up and running.

The first trans-Atlantic contact on the amateur 70-cm band has been reported, between the Caribbean and the Cape Verde islands off the coast of Africa.

The ARRL’s TQSL software has been updated to better support roving operators.

And next Saturday will be World Amateur Radio Day. Be on the lookout for special event stations!

In news from the world of science:

There are lots of great events this weekend because of famous anniversaries: the launch of Apollo 13 and the launch of Yuri Gagarin. Right now, the most addictive site on the internet is probably Apollo in Realtime, where I’m watching the Saturn 5 vent LOX while I listen to the chatter in launch control. If you’d like to hear astronauts and other celebrities speak tonight, the Yuri’s Night Webcast will be the event for you.

It seems that mice are just too intelligent for us; they have emotions, but we can’t read their facial expressions without help from a computer. The results are summarized in lots of news outlets, and there’s a detailed story that talks about the computer technology used up at

As well as being the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 13, it’s the 50,000th anniversary of the oldest-known piece of string. Evidence suggests (but doesn’t prove) that the string was made by Neanderthals, reminding us that our cousins (and partial ancestors) were probably just as smart as we are.

I hope the bacteria that do this don’t escape from the lab…or maybe I do. A bacterial enzyme has been found that breaks down plastic water bottles within hours. It should probably be sprayed on city parks.

You’ve probably heard someone say that “the clothes make the man,” but if you were listening closely, you probably noticed that the speaker was really a bird. A new study shows that birds have learned to recognize people’s occupations by their clothes, and thus judge their likelihood of being dangerous.

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