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Friday, February 4, 2011

SolderSmoke Podcast #130

SolderSmoke Podcast #130 is available at

Some important trivia questions (answers will be given in the podcast):

-- What is the connection between radio amateur (and pioneer radio astronomer) Grote Reber and world famous astronomer Edwin Hubble?

-- In the world of radio-controlled helicopters, what is "TBE"?

-- In Britain they have radio "rallies," but at one time they had hamfests." When did this happen?

-- Only one terrain feature on Venus is named for a man. He is man of radio. Who is he?

-- What music did Neil Armstrong listen to on his way to the moon?

-- The Air and Space Museums
-- Our music
-- The SolderSmoke D-104
-- NASA asks for our help
-- Telescope repairs
-- A BFO for the Trans-O
-- Back on Echolink

Please send reports on the D-104 audio!


  1. I can hear more subtleties in your voice with the D-104. You might say it was "more accurate", although it also has a harder edge than the old computer mic you were using.
    It's kind of a toss-up. I like the clarity of the '104 but I also like the smoothness of the old computer mic.
    Overall, I think the '104 wins out.
    Bill N5AB

  2. Audio clarity is great. But it sounds "harsh" missing low and smoothness.

  3. Duct tape on you teeth? Now that is dedication!

  4. Can you tell us just what your workflow looks like? It sound so thin and compressed. Your voice should be much, much fuller than what you're ending up with. I don't know how much filtering you're applying in post, but it sounds like you're cutting out quite a bit. It sounds okay, but I'm convinced you can do much better.

    The "audio snake oil" thing really only applies to playback... In recording you really do get what you pay for. A good mic goes a long way.

  5. Whoops I meant to include this: http://www.radiobanter.com/showpost.php?p=428346&postcount=18

    And interesting post from one of the engineers behind the D104

  6. If I run it through my Spectrogram 16 player and cut out some of the high end it's okay. BUT I hear quite a bit of Whistling S's with this mic as recorded. For example, at minute 07:00 you say "...so let's do some tests". But it sounds like "SSo let'SS do SSOme TestSS." My two pesos' worth...

  7. Hugely disappointing.
    The sybilent s issue is back with a vengence. I'm inclined to listen again and count them feeling it will run to 100's of whistles.

    The end request had far better audio quality meant subjectively due to it attenuating a lot [meaning too much but better] high frequency end.

    I'm listening on a workstation with one computer speaker not working and i can hear music in the background from about one third in to two thirds [37m:36s] of the production. I suspect its RF from a radio station getting through the audio chain - the mic cable? I'm not listening on a hi-fi system - surely there must be others that can hear it?

    comparing issue 110 sounds lush [lovely] to me and has richness & bass.


  8. yes, i hear the radio station in the podcast too.Started noticing it about 26:00 into the recording but the audio is better to me. Maybe a bit of bypassing is nessessary. KA9OOI Mark Z

  9. ..I wouldn't mind the BCI at 37'36" if it were Milton Babbitt's electronic music or even a nice theremin...yes, bypass! shield!

  10. Is this the problem -

    we have two sorts of listeners.

    Those that have lost the upper end of their hearing range and therefore benefit from no 'treble cut' and those that are working towards loosing their upper hearing range? [a polite way of putting older and younger listeners, or listeners with/out better hearing than others]

    Do we go for cutting edge Podcast downloads where you can select your bandwidth preference and then hit the download button? mix on line before download?

    I think the issue of the BCI is actually originating from 'down stairs' - Bills computer secretly aspires to become a Regen set :) BCI could only make an appearance on an Amateur Radio podcast couldn't it.

  11. Funny that you mention Parks Electronics. I've seen a place called Parks Electronics just about a mile from my house, out on Tualatin Valley Hwy, and I've wondered what it is that they do. I imagine that this is same place that made your 2m converter.

  12. Soldersmoke audio quality took a huge leap after you returned to the States, but podcast #130 is a big step backward. The "sibilant s" is back in a big way, to the extent that I've had trouble listening. I'd move back to your previous setup, which sounded quite nice.

    But enough complaining: thanks for your podcasts, which help relieve the pain of making my way through Silicon Valley traffic.

  13. I quite enjoyed the BCI breakthrough. I listen to Soldersmoke on my Android on the way into work on the bus (Holloway to Southwark, Londonistas) and those first little susurrations immediately triggered the internal faultfinder from my days fixing stuff. Of course so many of the old causes have gone away - crosstalk from a misaligned tape head, broken screen on a low-level audio connection, IF breakthrough - because, as I reminded myself, I was listening to a digital file on a phone smaller than a cigarette packet (remember when the cigarette packet was the default form factor for comparing portable gizmos to?).

    And in any case, all I had to do was skip back and see if it was identical the second time around. So it was in the source. Then came the fun of trying to identify what the interference was.

    May Soldersmoke never have perfect audio. This radio lark is fun because it never quite behaves itself. Leave perfection to the professionals - chasing it will probably keep them from doing any serious damage.

    Rupert, G6HVY


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