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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

1972 Solar Flare Caused Naval Mines to Explode

There are reports out this morning that a big solar flare in 1972 caused naval mines placed by the U.S. off the coast of Vietnam to explode.  

https://www.livescience.com/64062-mines-solar-storm-1972-vietnam.html

https://www.colorado.edu/today/2018/11/12/1972-solar-storm-triggered-vietnam-war-mystery

Background info: 

https://oraprdnt.uqtr.uquebec.ca/pls/public/docs/GSC418/F1929448428_Solar_Superstorm__Astronomy_Sept_2008.pdf

I remember this solar event.  It caused aurora near New York City: 

https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/2009/09/carrington-flares-aurora-where-were-you.html

Monday, November 12, 2018

Getting Ready for Farhan's Satellite (videos)



I've been getting ready for the November 24 launch of the CubeSat that Farhan and his friends in India built.  I started out with my trusty Drake 2-B and a Hamtronics 2-to-10 downconverter, but I quickly switched to an RTL-SDR dongle and HD-SDR software.   My 3 element quad antenna is visible in the first video.   So far, I am using the Armstrong method to turn the antenna. 

In that first video I keep saying that I am waiting for AO-71.   In fact is was AO-73, the "FunCube" from the UK.   I think it is similar in power and antenna configuration to Farhan's satellite, so I think we are almost ready for launch.

(Any ideas on what that mysterious pulsating sig in the satellite passband signal is in the first video?)     

Monday, November 5, 2018

Pete N6QW Rejuvenates the Atlas Twins with an Arduino and an Si5351



Pete Juliano N6QW has turned his attention to the Atlas Twins, a nice single conversion multiband rig. Pete has used an Arduino/Si5351 to replace the analog oscillators in the old Atlas.  This improves stability and allows for USB/LSB operation.  

Pete very graciously kept the old analog circuitry in the rig, allowing the Atlas to be returned to its pristine analog state at some time in the future. Pete also made some very kind comments about the surprising stability of the original  analog oscillator circuitry.  

Check out Pete' site for more details: 

http://n6qw.blogspot.com/2018/11/2018-year-of-ssb-transceivers.html

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Oliver Heaviside

Image result for Oliver Heaviside
In the last SolderSmoke podcast we took a look at some of the giants of radio.   Here is one fellow we missed:  Oliver Heaviside.  Hackaday has an interesting profile of him: 

https://hackaday.com/2018/10/30/oliver-heaviside-rags-to-recognition-to-madness/#more-330784

Like many of the giants we looked at, Oliver definitely had his problems, and didn't end well.  But he deserves a lot of respect and credit for his many innovations and discoveries.   I didn't know that he is the one responsible for those 88 mH coils in my junk box.  

Saturday, October 27, 2018

SolderSmoke Podcast #207 -- 15 mtrs, 60 mtrs, Giants of Radio, Cubesats, Pete's rigs, SDR MAILBAG


SolderSmoke Podcast #207 is available: 

http://soldersmoke.com/soldersmoke207.mp3

-- Giants of Radio
-- Pete on 15 Meters
-- Bill on 60 Meters with the uBITX
-- Pete's Sudden and Heath Filter Transceivers
-- Cubesats to orbit!  To the moon!  And to Mars! 
-- Bill rebuilds his 2 meter "Ray-Gun" Quad (for Farhan's Cubesat)
-- Homebrewing Variable caps and stockpiling NP0
-- My "by ear" Minimal Discernible Signal Technique
-- Thoughts on Direct Sampling SDR and the Radio Art
MAILBAG
-- A request for feedback from GQRP
-- G4WIF reports G3ROO on UK TV with spysets
-- VU3XVR builds FB rig from EMRFD
-- M0KOV Charter member of the 3 Scratch-built BITX club
--KD4PBJ's PTO Turtle DC Receiver
-- AB1OP builds Pete's LBS receiver and gives us a new acronym: SITB
-- KD4EBM -- Thanks for the scanner Bob!   
-- A possible sponsor from California... 

-- Pete's dream neighborhood...

Friday, October 26, 2018

Homebrewing Your Own Variable Capacitors



It is people like Jeremy Cook who will save us from total domination by DDS and PLL "oscillators" and their whimpy little "rotary encoders."   

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

uBITXs Doing Very Well on 60 Meters -- with Boris and Natasha




Last Saturday something told me to get on 60 meters.  TRGHS.  So I stepped out to the carport and tuned the doublet to 5.3 Mhz -- and I'm really glad I did.  There was a lot of activity on the band, all very friendly.  Channels 1 and 2 seem to be especially popular watering holes.  

Channel 3 might be getting a bit more digital use, but a very interesting group called the "Moose and Squirrel Net" meets there at noon (east coast time) on Saturday on SSB phone.  This group is kind of a spill-over from the Old Military Radio Net that meets early on Saturday morning on 3895 kHz  AM.  Because many of the old military radios can't tune on half kHz increments, the "Moose and Squirrel" group used channel 3 which is the only U.S. 60 meter channel on a whole integer kHz frequency (5357.0 kHz).  Moose and Squirrel takes it name from the old Boris and Natasha Cold War cartoons that many of us watched as kids.  Natasha Fatale and Boris Badinov.  Cold War era military radios, get it?  Good stuff.  Many of the guys on the M&S net commented on how nice the uBITX sounded.   I was running it through my .1kW CCI EB63A amplifier. 

One of my nicest contacts was with Joe WA2EJT.  He told me that he too has a uBITX.  He said he bought the rig in part because of he liked the fact that Farhan was giving the work on the toroids to some ladies in Hyderabad who normally do sewing.   Joe said he liked the look of the uBITX board so much that he decided to put his  board on top of the chassis instead of inside it.  That is exactly what I had done with  my first BITX 40 module.   See the pictures of Joe's rig. 

Three cheers for the uBITX! 


Boris natasha fearless.jpg
Boris, Natasha and "Fearless Leader" 




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