Science(ish) and Radio Page

My current projects in Science(ish) and Radio:

COMPUTER STUFF: Still using FreeBSD, Apache, PHP, MySQL as the workhorse engines for my web projects. I have been using *NIX type OSs for 30 years and was originally trained in command line UNIX some years before that. Although *NIX has evolved and added GUI tools over the years, a user must have a technical interest in administering, programming, and tinkering with computers to stay proficient at *NIX systems. My main project is developing an innovative presentation of local environmental conditions, by integrating near real-time pictures, graphics and data. I have added a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian, the ARM versions of Debian Linux, to the computer collection as a dedicated weather and music server. So far it has been fun configuring it and learning another flavor of Linux.

WEATHER: After 8 years my Costco $80 LaCrosse weather station finally died.I have replaced it with a Davis Vantage Vue and so far am very pleased with it. The only issue I had with the LaCrosse was that it didn't have a very good radiation shield and the temperatures would go way high if the sun hit the temperature himidity sensor. I am collecting weather data from the new station and presenting current weather conditions, forecasts, and history graphics on my local server and as an Amateur Radio Operator, I am currently reporting weather data to the Citizens Weather Observation Program (CWOP) via the APRS (Automated/Amateur Position Reporting System) APRS report, Wunderground Weather, several local databasees, and my personal favorite,

SOLAR: I have mounted a small solar panel facing South at about 20' (6m) up the tower and tipped it up 70 degrees from horizontal. The 70 degrees is the calculated angle for 47 degrees North Latitude to get the most solar exposure in the winter months. I added a solar controller to the system this summer and have the system keeping a small 12v sealed battery charged. I still have to add a load to the conroller to see what how effecient the cell is. Since I will have to manually tip the panel to 55 degrees from horizontal for the Summer months, I have the beginnings of a micro-controlled tracking mount are in my head. There is a lot of tracking source code out there so I won't have to reinvent the wheel, just build the hardware and hook it up. The plan is to use the panel to keep the 12V battery charged so that it will be enough to keep up with the demand of a camera server, the tracking motors, and several other low current draw devices housed in the enclosure.

AMATEUR RADIO: I finished the custom desk for the office/radio shack. It is "U" shaped 10' across the front with a 6' return on the left and a 7' return on the right. There is plenty of roon for the two personal computing positions, a digital amateur radio computer position, as well as the amateur radio gear. The feed line for the HF system is in place and most of the equipment is installed. I added an STS Pactor IIe modem and have been successful sending and recieving email over the air with it. Twenty meters has been open for a while now and I have been very successful with pactor on 14MHz and 18MHz to the Southern CA and Tijuana email gateways. I am hoping my friend on a sail boat and I will be able to do a peer to peer connection when he passes through the Panama Canal next spring.

AL7LI Mobile on the TX Gulf: I drove the motorhome to the TX gulf for part of the winter and did some amateur radio playing there. I mostly wanted to check out the antenna mount I built for the HF (ATAS120A) antenna when I redid the roof on the motorhome. Since I had the roof opened up I connected the shield side of the mount to the coach framing. I mounted the ATAS 120A and hooked up my FT857D and drove a 4' copper clad ground rod next to the MH and grounded the chassis to it. Since the steel square tube framing for the coach is grounded to the chassis, I had a great RF ground as well. The ATAS 120 tuned flawlessly from 7MHz to 53Mhz and the antenna performed extremely well. I was able to send and recieve email on 7MHz and 10MHz routinely. I also have a 2M and 70CM dualband antenna mounted and used my ICOM IC 2820H for FM repeaters. The two repeaters I can hit from here are not very busy, I have only heard a few QSOs on one and nothing but a voice ID when I ka-chunk the other one.

Here are some web sites with resources for Amateurs.

Best Amateur resource online I've seen

Online FCC Practice Exam Site

A friend of mine into EME, check out his 10 meter dish

KL6M (former AL7OB) Home Page EME

Here are a few miscellaneous items

My one and only contest award (it was fun)

Index of misc. PDF manuals I have scanned or downloaded.

Pinout of KAM cables for TS-450 and TM733

Last Update 3/26/2017