05/21/13

A really cool setup…

This is a picture I came across on Pinterest. It is of a beastly tech-ed out setup. There is a Motorola Mobile Computer framed with a GPS, scanner, vehicle lighting control, radio transceivers and a few radio accessories. All mounted on a niece center console. Based on the dial cluster looks like in a Ford SUV. This is what I imagine as a perfect setup. I just love this system.

I have a Kenwood Dual band radio, a Yaesu HF 50mhz – 160m and a Motorola Mobile Computer. I just need a nice center console.

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05/15/13

Repost: blog.g4ilo.com/ – What weather station?

Link to Original Post

A few days ago my Fox Delta WX1 Micro Weather Station stopped working. As it turned out, I just had to switch off the power and switch it on and it started working again . But while I was waiting for the rain to stop so I could go out and look at the device I began thinking about getting a better weather station – one that measures wind speed and direction and rainfall as well as temperature, humidity and pressure.

When you start to look at weather stations the choice is overwhelming. My first priority was that it should work with APRSISCE and generate the file wxnow.txt that it uses to update weather objects. That requirement led to the stipulation that it should be compatible with the free weather software Cumulus, which creates the required file. There is a list of weather stations that work with this software, which narrowed the choice down a little. After reading many reviews the best choice seemed to be the Davis Vantage Vue. Unfortunately this cost about four times more than I was willing to pay, so it was back to the drawing board.

The weather stations made by the Chinese firm Fine Offset and sold under the Watson brand name seemed to meet my criteria at a more reasonable price. However, browsing through the reviews on Eham.net and elsewhere there were quite a high proportion of dissatisfied users. Complaints about anemometers that stopped rotating, poor wireless reception and so on. With weather stations as with everything else, it seems, you get what you pay for.

Despite the reviews I am tempted to get one of the Watson W6861 solar weather stations. But before I did I thought I would take the opportunity to ask my readers for their experiences. Many of you must have home weather stations. So which ones are good, which are bad and which should be avoided at all costs? I await your comments with interest.

05/13/13

Where I Get My Electronics…

mouser

I use Mouser Electronics almost exclusively for internet ordered components. I’ve used the major companies, but have had the best time with Mouser. Shipping rates, shipping times, handling times, selection and stocked items have all been the best for me from Mouser. Also, and to me this is very important, there website is the best. I don’t even go to Digikey cause it has always been so terrible, it may have changed by now, but to late.

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05/13/13

Repost: hackaday.com – GoPro hack delivers live video feed for piloting your Quadcopter

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The GoPro line of HD cameras seem like they were specifically designed for use with quadcopters. We say that because the small, light-weight video devices present a payload which can be lifted without too much strain, but still have enough horse power to capture video of superb quality. Here’s a hack that uses the camera to provide a remote First Person View so that you may pilot the aircraft when it is out of your line of sight.

The camera in question is a GoPro Hero 3. It differs from its predecessors in that the composite video out port has been moved to a mini USB connector. But it’s still there and just a bit of cable splicing will yield a very clear signal. The image above shows the camera in the middle, connecting via the spliced cable to an FPV transmitter on the right. This will all be strapped to the quadcopter, with the signal picked up by the receiver on the left and piped to a goggle display worn by the pilot. You can see the cable being construction process in the clip after the break.

If you’re looking for other cool stuff to do with your GoPro camera check out the bullet-time work [Caleb] did with ours.

How to Hack your GoPro Hero 3 for FPV from Chad Johnson on Vimeo.

05/13/13

Repost: kb6nu.com – Tip of the Day: Add elements to make a single-band dipole a multi-band antenna

Link to Original Post

You can make a make a simple dipole antenna into a multi-band antenna by adding an additional set of elements for the band you want to operate. A couple of years ago, I added 30m elements to my 40m dipole and now it works on both 40m and 30m. The reason this works is that when operating 40m, the 30m elements present a relatively high impedance, while the 40m elements a relatively low impedance. RF current, like any kind of electrical current will take the path of least resistance.

As shown below, the 30m elements hang down below the 40m elements. If you space the elements close to one another, you may have to tweak the lengths of the elements for the best SWR. In my case, that wasn’t a problem.

fan-dipole

If two bands is good, why not four or five? Yes, you can do that. You can add as many bands as you have space and wire for.

05/13/13

Repost: kb6nu.com – Solder: 60/40 or 63/37?

Orginial Post

File this under  ”You learn something new every day.”

A 1-lb. roll of Kester 44 solder with a 63/37 tin-lead formulation is $22.96 from AllSpec Industries. Kester 44 with a 60/40 formulation costs only $21.06.

 

A couple of days ago, someone on theHamRadioHelpGroup mailing list asked, “So I’m about to put up my first antenna and I need to solder the connectors to the coax. I know learned this in the book but I can not find it, so what kind of solder should I be using?”

Pat, K7KBN, replied, “Rosin core, 60/40 lead/tin (63/37 is better).  Don’t use any acid core or acid flux solder, and avoid the no-lead junk.  The diameter of the solder depends on your taste and experience.  Connector work requires more solder than circuit board work in most cases. And for connectors you need an iron with a massive tip that won’t cool off when you touch the body of the connector like a typical gun tip will.”

So, of course, I had to ask, “Why is 63/37 better?”

The answer? “The 63% tin/37% lead solder alloy is “eutectic” (Google it).  Basically it has NO ‘plastic range.’ It changes instantly from liquid to solid.”

Mark, K5LXP, ever the practical ham, added, “For anything hams solder you would be hard pressed to discern the flow, hardness or durability difference between any of these lead alloys. Hams being hams, 60/40 is usually the cheapest. That makes it ‘better’ right there!”