ON THE SQUID

Living On The Digital Edge ▲




 

The smartphone has become prevalent in today’s culture, but the costs associated with owning one can run a bit excessive for the average person. Most smartphone users will invest $40 or more per month to secure those unlimited talk/text/data plans the leading carriers offer. And let’s not forget the amount you have to fork over to get the phone in the first place!

Not all of us can afford giving a thousand dollars for a face-recognizing iPhone or handing over $60 a month to bait and hook wireless providers. For our prudent minds the solution is simple: buy your smartphone used and pay for your service plan only when you need to.

As for the smartphone itself you can find great deals on used and refurbished iPhones or Android devices from top rated sellers on eBay. Instead of having the latest and greatest phone you could instead opt for a refurbished iPhone 5 or a new Samsung Galaxy S5.

The service plan doesn’t have to be costly either. You can get monthly plans from TracFone starting at only $15 per month or pay $125 for the whole year. And yes you can use an older iPhone or Android device with the Bring Your Own Phone service that TracFone offers.

Used phones and pay as you go plans will save you abundantly in the long run.

“Can you hear me now?”

Any experienced ham operator will tell you—height is everything. If you want to be heard, if you want better ears, if you want respect, height is the goal. Not many of us have the resources for the 100 ft. tower, but maybe you have a tall tree nearby that is sufficient. Get your dipole into the tall tree with this tool.

“The AIR BOSS antenna launcher was designed to launch a light fishing line over trees in order to create temporary antenna for ham radio operators.”

You may need to grab the Shakespeare Alpha Spinning Reel or something similar as an accessory. Usually 25 lb. test line will come with the reel, and the Spiderwire 30 lb line is recommended for the task at hand.

Also acquire a few 2 oz. egg sinkers.

Here’s a video of the operation of the AirBoss launcher for installing temporary ham radio antenna.The AIR BOSS antenna launcher uses compressed air to launch a 2 oz. lead weight pulling a light fishing line.

“Once the weight is retrieved, the antenna or another line can be fastened to the fishing line and the line retrieved to erect the antenna.”

I can’t wait to get my hands on the AIR BOSS and get it done!

How To Program Baofeng UV5R

New out of the box—one must visit the Idiots Guide to programming your Baofeng UV-5R radio (W7DTG). This guide is useful especially for using repeaters with tones. I’m mostly interested in programming simplex type applications, along with local emergency frequencies.

Sometimes I forget this simple process because I don’t do it very often. I will verify the reset procedure that is mentioned in the guide referenced above.

How To Get Rid Of Unwanted Channel
Do not forget that you must delete a channel in order to replace it. It will not override it by itself. Use Menu 28.


Video Tutorials For Baofeng UV5R Radio

1. Watch this video to get familiar with the process: How to program Baofeng UV5R/UV82 without usb cable… (For programming ham radio repeaters.)

2. Watch this video to learn more: Manually set a Baofeng uv-5rv2+/ Police Scanner/ Ham Radio… (Go to 5:06 for delete instructions.)


Quick Baofeng UV5R Program Guide
1. Go To Frequency Mode — Orange Button
2. Punch in frequency number
3. Menu 25 — Repeater Upshift or downshift, press menu again; then edit.
4. Menu 27, MEM- CH — Press Menu, Receive memory.
5. Menu 28 — Delete Unwanted Channel. Select channel then punch delete again.


FCC: Radio Buoys Operating in the 1.900 to 2.000 kHz Band

[ET Docket No. 15-99]
1. The Commission proposes to amend Section 80.375 of its Rules to make the 1,900 kHz to 2,000 kHz band available to commercial fishing vessels for use by radio buoys on the open sea and to include them in the equipment authorized as part of a ship station license. Authorization allows buoys to transmit on any frequency in the 1,900 kHz to 2,000 kHz band; provided that the transmitter output power does not exceed 10 watts and that the antenna height of the buoy station does not exceed 4.6 meters (15 feet) above sea level.

2. The Commission next proposes rules for the use of SELCAL buoys. Therefore, they also propose to authorize ship stations to transmit selective calling signals on all frequencies in the 1,900 kHz to 2,000 kHz band, provide that transmitter output power does not exceed 10 watts and that the ship station’s antenna height does not exceed 6 meters (20 feet) above the mast of the ship on which it is installed.

3. Finally, the Commission proposes a footnote to the Table of Frequency Allocations (47 C.F.R. §2.106) to restrict radio buoy operations to the open sea “based on the areas where radio buoys appear to be in use” and to “provide greater protection for amateur stations by excluding radio buoys from ‘inland waters’.” The proposed footnote is named NG92.

More Information:
1. (PDF) Radio Buoys Operating in the 1,900 to 2,000 kHz Band (Released April 27, 2015)

TV Everywhere (TVE) Single Sign-on Feature Update

The next software update for Roku players will add a convenient feature many users have requested: TV Everywhere (TVE) single sign-on. Now instead of having to log in to every TVE service you will only need to authenticate just one and the rest will sign-on automatically.

The Roku OS 8 software update should automatically update on your Roku device later this month. You can view your software version and check for updates from the Settings tab.

Unfortunately not all TV providers and channels support the single sign-on feature. Notable providers not currently on board include:

Not Included
Spectrum (Bright House Networks, Time Warner Cable, Charter)
Comcast XFINITY
Altice (includes Optimum, Suddenlink and CableVision)
Verizon
Frontier

What channels support Single Sign On?
For more details about this feature check out the article on the official Roku blog.

Email With Or Without The Internet

Is there an emergency and you need wireless communication? Got Winlink? “Winlink is an all-volunteer project of the Amateur Radio Safety Foundation, Inc. (ARSFI), a non-profit public benefit corporation.” BTW, you need an amateur radio license to operate.

Winlink is a worldwide radio messaging system that uses amateur-band radio frequencies to provide radio interconnection services that include email with attachments, position reporting, weather bulletins, emergency relief communications, and message relay.”

This is Amateur Radio HF email at its finest. Email via HF can be used nearly everywhere on the planet, and is made possible by connecting an HF single sideband (SSB) transceiver system to a computer, modem interface, and appropriate software.

It usually includes: PACTOR, Winmor, and Automatic Link Establishment (ALE).

“PACTOR-I, WINMOR, HSMM (WiFi), AX.25 packet, D-Star, TCP/IP, and ALE are non-proprietary protocols used in various RF applications to access the Winlink network systems.”

Think Puerto Rico and Hurricane Irma: Hurricane Irma Skirts Puerto Rico, Leaves 1 Million Without Power.

Also, if Irma wasn’t enough devastation for the island, Maria was not far behind.

It could be months before power could be restored, according to some reports.

What is Winlink (Worldwide system for sending/receiving email via radio)?

Your Best Option For A Used Apple

Those shiny new Apple Mac computers might carry a hefty price tag, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a PC if you don’t have that kind of money to spare. You can find good deals on used Mac computers for about the same amount it would cost you to get a new PC. Your best option for a used Apple machine?

Don’t let the word ‘Used’ startle you as many of these bad boy Mac machines are equipped with efficient amounts of RAM, hard drive storage, and processor power.

What operating system do they run you ask? Well most of them can run the latest release of MacOS or whichever version you prefer. And the great thing about Macs is the Boot Camp service which gives you the ability to run Windows as a virtual system. You can also use Linux by downloading the free VirtualBox program. Run whatever OS you like; the Mac doesn’t mind dude.

If you are looking to run the latest version of MacOS, High Sierra, which will be released on September 25, you must meet these hardware requirements.

iMac: late 2009 or newer
MacBook/MacBook (Retina): late 2009 or newer
MacBook Pro: mid-2010 or newer
MacBook Air: late 2010 or newer
Mac Mini: mid-2010 or newer
Mac Pro: mid-2010 or newer

eBay is the hub when it comes to finding affordable Mac computers. Search with a keyword containing the model and year like ‘macbook pro 2010′ to find great deals.

A few things you should do before you order is to check the product description, the seller’s feedback, and the seller’s return policy to make sure you know what you’re getting.

Get a taste of the Macintosh for a fraction of the price.

Cassini: The Final Chapter

The flagship-class unmanned robotic spacecraft named Cassini is planned to descend into the atmosphere of the planet Saturn; the date scheduled is Sep. 15, 2017. This is Cassini’s Grand Finale. It has run out of fuel.

“The spacecraft was launched on October 15, 1997, aboard a Titan IVB/Centaur and entered orbit around Saturn on July 1, 2004, after an interplanetary voyage that included flybys of Earth, Venus, and Jupiter.”

Outer Planets Flagship include: Cassini, Galileo, Viking 1-2, and Voyager.

Very large radio telescopes on Earth were also listening to Huygens‘ 10-watt transmission using the technique of very long baseline interferometry and aperture synthesis mode.

At 11:25 CET on January 14, the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia detected the carrier signal from Huygens. The GBT continued to detect the carrier signal well after Cassini stopped listening to the incoming data stream.

The GBT sits near the heart of the United States National Radio Quiet Zone, a unique area located in the town of Green Bank, West Virginia, where authorities limit all radio transmissions to avoid emissions toward the GBT and the Sugar Grove Station.

The “Great Big Thing” is only 148 meters or 485 feet tall.

This reminds me of the 1997 film called Contact.

Farewell to The Great Cassini!

Related:
1. New NASA video of Saturn with stunning real images from Cassini
2. NASA is about to destroy a $3.26 billion spacecraft by flying it into Saturn
3. SpaceX launches secret Air Force spaceplane (Sep 7, 2017)

Is The TYT-9800 Getting Popular?

Is the TYT-9800 getting popular? I’m hearing more of these radios every day and there’s a reason why. What is it?

Without a doubt it’s the price. The “other guys” sold a VHF/UHF transceiver of excellent quality, all equipped with four bands, but the price was kind of hefty. This is a point in time where the VHF band has become diminished. I think it’s fair to say so.

The price point on the TYT TYT-TH-9800 is under $200? This is very reasonably priced. Is it worth it?

One comment pointed out that the speaker jack was weak; whether this is true or not is to be seen. This would have to be examined.

One thing is for sure though. I’ve heard the radio on the air and it doesn’t sound that bad at all. Maybe it’s all in the tweaking. The transmit audio is very decent.

Overall a decent radio for the price with caveats. It could be that QC is a hit or miss junction.

Transmits on 10M (29Mhz), 6M (52Mhz), 2M (146Mhz) & 70cm (440Mhz).

I think that the 6 meter band would be worth it! Comeback time!

Although software-defined radio is nothing new, the technological aspects keep expanding and exciting breakthroughs are advancing. What do have when you mix Kiwi with Beagle? Here’s a new one for you: KiwiSDR Kit Software Defined Radio with BeagleBone Green by Seeedstudio. SDR that covers 10 kHz to 30 MHz. The KiwiSDR Kit is plug and play, working right out of the box. Price is approximately $299.00 at this time.

Browser Supported Is Linux & More
The Kiwi is different from other SDRs. It is a standalone device that attaches to your local network and is optionally accessed through the Internet. A browser is used to connect to the user interface. Most other SDRs generate raw IQ data and need to be connected directly to a PC or laptop running OS-specific, installed software.

Browsers supported include Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera on Windows, Linux and Mac.

Power Supply Advice
You may have to get the DC supply. Here’s a source for Power Supply Advice. “The Kiwi must be powered using the round connector DC jack on the Kiwi board (2.1mm ID, 5.5mm OD).”

Antenna Advice
Also, you supply the antenna such as: 10-80 Meter magnetic Alpha Loop HF transceiver antenna. A G5RV Wire Antenna will work. Wire antennas offer good results, although an active antenna is preferred. More for Antenna Advice.

Part List
KiwiSDR Board
Beaglebone Green
Unassembled enclosure
Skyworks SE4150L GPS front-end antenna
Micro-SD Card

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