Tech Net News 07-04-2020

A dipole will work just as well without a flag, but it will be less fun.

Our next club meeting is coming up this Tuesday, July 7th, at 7:00 PM. Like most meetings these days, it will be on-line. Please have a look at the club event calendar for the link you need to use. I’ll be giving the presentation and discussing one of the things I find most mysterious in our hobby: baluns.

I will speak at our next meeting about the basics of baluns, including how and why they work, what choices you have, and when to use them. Baluns can be easy and cheap to make for yourself, so I’ll will cover a few construction tips, too.

The contest calendar has a scattering of events, but the two most interesting are the 10-10 International Spirit of 76 QSO Party, which is is wrapping up this weekend, and the 13 Colonies Special Event, which is well under way.

There isn’t much news from the world of Amateur Radio, but please remember to submit your Field Day scores!  You can also review a list of all the entries that have been received so far, and review our best practices guide for more help. You can ask questions of fellow DARC members in real-time using our club Discord server. If you haven’t joined, check the best practices guide for a link or contact the club and we’ll send you one.

In news from the world of science:

Humans aren’t the only ones who get catchy new songs stuck in their head. A new bird song is rapidly spreading across Canada, and the white-throated sparrows who sing it are giving up on their older tune. If you don’t like the new song? Don’t worry, fashions change quickly. A new sparrow song is already spreading from Prince George, British Columbia.

If you won’t be going out to see fireworks tonight, you’re not alone. For myself, I’m not very interested in watching them on TV, either; if you can’t smell the gunpowder, you’re too far away. But ALMA and the Hubble Space Telescope have teamed up to give us a consolation prize: beautiful streamers of hot gas escaping from a distant star cluster in a cosmic firework.

TESS, NASA’s flagship planet-hunting satellite, as found a unique world: it’s 2-3 times the mass of Neptune, but is so close to its parent star that it orbits once every 18 hours. This new “TOI” seems to be the naked core of what would have been a Jupiter-sized planet, if only it had formed a bit further from its star.

Scientists have also found some new trinos, much more interesting than the old trinos. These neutrios come from the second fusion process in the Sun, the carbon-nitrogen-oxygen cycle. It’s more complicated than the “squish hydrogen together to get helium” cycle that we all learned about in school, but physicists have long been confident that it happens inside our nearest star…and now they have proof.

And just because there wasn’t much ham news this week, I want to sneak in one more news item, with a picture, too. Does this creature look weird and scary? It should! It’s a caecilian, the first known amphibian (like a frog or salamander) with venom glands like a snake. Sleep well!

Credit: Carlos Jared