Tech Net News 06-13-2020

Blue jays HATE paying for overdue books.

I’ve found one battery that will never come back from the dead, and wondering what to buy to replace it. How are your Field Day preparations going? That the DARC still has one more virtual forum coming up on June 18th to help us get ready for Field Day on our own, and we’re continuing to update our participation gude.

Lots of the bonus points that we used to take care of as a club are now available to you as an individual. For example, you can earn 100 points for sending a radiogram to the ARRL NTX Section Manager, and 10 points each (up to 100) for sending radiograms to your family and friends. Don’t know how? Get started at the website for our local traffic net.

There’s no Lecture and Lab this month, because of Field Day, but there’s still plenty you can do on and off the air. The contest calendar has plenty of small events and the second six-week series of the RSGB Hope QSO Party is still ongoing. The biggest event this weekend, though, is the ARRL June VHF Contest. It’s hot and sunny, so give six meters a try…or go even higher.

In news from the world of amateur radio:

Did you just make a rare contact with Curaçao? Or are you chatting with your regular buddies in Uruguay or Chile? Either way, don’t send them a QSL card yet. Both the ARRL and the USPS would like to warn us that international mail service is becoming increasingly disrupted. International mail to a long list of destinations may simply bounce back to you after a long delay. Check the USPS warnings before you send your cards.

The ARRL also reports that the new Volunteer Monitor Program, which replaced the network of Official Observers, has been recognizing amateurs for good deeds lately. That should be a welcome surprise for hams around the country.

In news from the world of science:

Watching birds is fun! It’s science, too…although this item is, I admit, a bit of a stretch. Cute pictures have been going around the internet lately of birds visiting a library-themed bird feeder. Check it out, have a good time, and see if they catch any bookworms.

One of the nice things about crocodiles and alligators is that, dangerous as they are, they’re stuck down there on four legs, and they can’t run very far even though they’re pretty fast. It turns out that wasn’t always the case! Fossilized tracks from about 106 million years ago have revealed a two-legged crocodile that could run like an ostrich. I’m glad we don’t have any in the neighborhood.

Some of you might remember my earlier post about the magnetic blob under Siberia that’s growing stronger than our magnetic blob under North America. If you’re not tired of blob news, there’s been more lately: new software—invented for analyzing data for astronomers—has been used to process data from large numbers of earthquakes. It’s found new blobs of unexpectedly hot material in Earth’s mantle, including some under the Pacific Ocean. Blobs. Is there anyplace they can’t go?

Physicists have often said that “black holes have no hair,” but at least one has a heartbeat. The black hole, in the center of a distant galaxy about 600 million light years away was observed to vary in brightness in a smooth, up-and-down wave with a frequency of about 1 per hour. Because of the relative position of the Sun, the black hole, and the XMM-Newton x-ray astronomy satellite, the black hole hasn’t been observed since 2011. Now it has, and the heartbeat is still there.


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