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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Joy of Fixing Broken Things (a really amazing video)

This amazing 10 minute video captures very well the joy of fixing broken things. 
It comes to us through a recommendation from Paul VK3HN in Melbourne, Australia. 
Thanks Paul.   I hope we will see more from Van Neistat.  

I often tell the story of the OT (probably now an SK) who at hamfests would ask if a piece of old gear was working. If the vendor answered honestly and said no, OT would reply, "Good, I pay extra for that."  He too liked to fix things.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Chuck Penson WA7ZZE, Heathkits, and the Titan Missile Museum

                                             WA7ZZE Shack

The video above popped up in my Facebook feed today and reminded me of Chuck Penson WA7ZZE.  Chuck is the author of a wonderful book on Heathkits (and several other books). 

The Titan missile explosion (not of the warhead) in Arkansas is described in an excellent but horrifying book entitled "Command and Control" by Eric Schlosser.

PBS made a video out of the book.  You can watch it here: 

Here's an interesting article on nuclear weapons tourism.  It has a great title. 

It is easy to see how an interest in ln old technology would lead someone to both Heathkits and Titans.  I get that.  But on the other hand the Heathkits and the Titans are at completely opposite ends of the humanity spectrum:  Heath made friendly technology that ultimately brought people together on the ham bands.   We know that the Titans were supposed to do. 

In any case it was great to be reminded of Chuck WA7ZZE.  We last posted about Chuck more than 10 years ago: 
In a comment to that post, Steve "Snort Rosin" Smith WB6TNL noted that Chuck had spoken at the 2009 CactusCon hamfest, and that the club pledged to put his presentation on-line.  But Google and I can't seem to find it.   Do any of the Scorpions or anyone else out there know where Chuck's hamfest talk is? 

Bob KD4EBM has been out there.  He reports that hams can bring their rigs and make use of the Titan site's large Discone antenna:

Friday, May 7, 2021

NASA Rocket Launch from Virginia to Create Artificial Aurora Saturday Night


"Adventures in Electromagnetism" Video by Julius Sumner Miller

This guy is quite a character, with a real knack for describing physics.  At the start of this video he says that these kinds of adventures are "good for the spirit and the soul."  Right you are Professor Miller.  I am currently recovering from a minor back injury.  It is nothing serious, but it has delayed the production of the SolderSmoke Podcast #230.   These videos are, for me, just what the doctor should have ordered.  

I liked Miller's references to Michael Faraday. 

There are many videos on the Julius Sumner Miller YouTube Channel.  They are indeed "good for the spirit and the soul."   Thanks to Hack-A-Day for alerting us to this treasure trove. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Ciprian's Romanian Ten Minute Transmitter with Roots in SPRAT, KA4KXX, and the Florida Sunrise Net

It sounds great Ciprian!  It was really cool to see your video and hear you reference not only the SolderSmoke blog, but also SPRAT, the Michigan Mighty Mite, and Walter KA4KXX. Your little rig has a very fine lineage!  

I found Ciprian's video just after seeing the wonderful Herndon Mighty Mite of Jack NG2E.  TRGHS!  The Color Burst Liberation Army is on the march!   For more info on NG2E's Mighty Mite, check out his blog: https://jackhaefner.blogspot.com/2021/05/mounting-to-perfboard-and-scope-test.html 

Jack has in his possession one of the  7.123 MHz crystals that Walter KA4KXX sent me back in 2019 (during my ET-2 craze).   It seems obvious that Jack should build a Ten Minute Transmitter and use it to check into the Sunrise Net  https://qsl.net/srn/

Monday, May 3, 2021

A New Michigan Mighty Mite Oscillates in Northern Virginia

We are pleased  to report that OM Jack, NG2E, has successfully built a Michigan Mighty Mite transmitter, and has experienced JOO (the joy of oscillation). You can see Jack's prototype in the video below: 

Jack has his eye on more ambitious homebrew projects, but is wisely taking a step-by-step approach.  He described his plans this way: 
  1. Capture this MMM into a semi-permanent design: ie, perf board.
  2. Measure performance. What does the carrier wave look like on a scope? 
  3. Build a low-pass filter.
  4. Can I amplify the signal? Maybe add an amplifier stage or two. Transistor? 
  5. Next, let's look at receivers. Pete & Bill recommend that I build a Direct Conversion receiver. I know Peter Parker (VK3YE) has a simplified version

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