Archive for August 2013

Fed by Agility Fuel Systems: Freightliner Cascadia 113   Leave a comment

Photo from: http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/products/news/story/2013/08/freightliner-adds-sleepers-aero-long-range-tanks-to-ng-lineup.aspx

Freightliner Cascadia 113 with Cummins Westport ISX12 G CNG engine and Allison 4000 automatic transmission.

Photo from: TruckingInfo.com

http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/products/news/story/2013/08/freightliner-adds-sleepers-aero-long-range-tanks-to-ng-lineup.aspx

 

Click here to see >>> A nice video tour of a new vehicle fueled by Agility Fuel Systems

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CQ Magazine Article, “The Science of Ham Radio” Published in the September Issue   Leave a comment

This is a screen capture showing the KH6WZ APRS beacon data from the Discovery Science Center - Meet the Makers event.

This is a screen capture showing the KH6WZ APRS beacon data from the Discovery Science Center – Meet the Makers event.

My article, “The Science of Ham Radio” is published in September CQ magazine: http://www.cq-amateur-radio.com/cq_current_issue.html

Back to the Coupe Project: Brakes and Goodies from Russ!   Leave a comment

Where does the brake reservoir go?

Where does the brake reservoir go?

Before I drill any holes, I need to verify where the brake rez can should go. This polished stainless steel can looks great, and it is small. It must be easily accessible for filling and must also be higher (at level with) the brake master cylinders.

Location of the brake rez here or there?

Location of the brake rez here or there?

A few weeks ago I received a box of accessories from Russ Thompson, expert maker of Coupe add-on items. Here are some pictures. . .

Under Construction: KH6WZ Floating-Flying APRS   Leave a comment

Some friends at the office launched a helium balloon last weekend (Sunday 25 August). We talked about tracking the balloon and of course, I have several ham radio “tracker boxes” that interface a GPS unit to ham radio and then the Internet. Making something small and lightweight could be something that can be part of the payload for a high altitude balloon.

Interestingly, I had a project in my mind ever since I started my various beacon projects many years ago: It is a 21st century message in a bottle – build a disposable, waterproof, floating APRS beacon that I can throw overboard and into the ocean. Then the world can track this thing as it floats around. It will have some instructions on what to do with it if it is found. And, if the finder is or knows a ham radio operator, I will ask that they throw it back into the ocean so it can be found and tracked again.

Here is a picture of one of the main ingredients I will be using:

An old but working 2 meter HT can be put to good use as the RF portion of an APRS beacon.

An old but working 2 meter HT can be put to good use as the RF portion of an APRS beacon.

The plastic case, battery pack and rubber duckie antenna will be discarded to reduce weight. LED indicator lights will be disconnected to reduce current consumption. Other parts or functions will be deleted to conserve space, weight and power consumption.

The APRS modem will be a TinyTrak unit, as with my other APRS projects.

I may build two of these, one for balloon flights and one for message in a bottle use.

Meet the Makers Event, Discovery Science Center   Leave a comment

Discovery Science Center – Advanced Ham Radio on Display at the Meet the Makers Event

Signage at The Discovery Cube announces the Meet the Makers Event

Signage at The Discovery Cube announces the Meet the Makers Event

Dennis Kidder (W6DQ), Walter Clark and I demonstrated our Maker Faire ham radio projects at the Discovery Cube in Santa Ana on June 29 and 30, 2013. We used my TinyTrak APRS beacon to indicate our location during the event. In case the plot is removed or expires, here is an image of the map showing our location. KH6WZ is indicated by the eye icon near the Interstate 5 freeway in Santa Ana.

This is a screen capture showing the KH6WZ APRS beacon data from the Discovery Science Center - Meet the Makers event.

This is a screen capture showing the KH6WZ APRS beacon data from the Discovery Science Center – Meet the Makers event.

This was a great opportunity to expose people to today’s technology Amateur Radio, and continued along my Maker Faire theme, “Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio.”

Dennis brought his dual band 10 GHz and 24 GHz transverter, controlled and interfaced to his software-defined radio (SDR).

Walt brought his polarization demonstration units, which helped people visualize how radio signals propagate and change as they travel through the air. Here’s how Walt explains his demos:

Two demonstrations show the structure of radio waves – in this case microwaves.

One

The structure of a radio wave in angle around the direction of travel: This is called polarization. A spinning bargraph that has a receiving antenna that also spins will reveal the way radio waves “look” to a receiving antenna. The lesson here is that the receiving and transmitting antennas have to be oriented to the same angle.

Two

The structure of a radio wave along the direction of travel: When a receiver is arranged to look exactly in [or along] the direction the radio waves are going out, reflections can be measured; just like in radar. The reflection off of the hand or the chest of a person causes the speaker to be loud or quiet depending on the exact position. It cycles from loud to quiet every 1.5 cm whether inches or many feet away. The lesson here is that with this equipment, you can picture in your mind the wavelength and especially note that the wavelength is the same no matter how far the radio wave travels.

We did not establish any goals for this event, but there were several memorable visitors to our little table display, including teachers, Maker Faire participants, some current and ex-ham radio operators, many engineers and retired engineers as well as engineering students.

This “Meet the Makers” event was a double treat for me, since this was the first time I visited the Science Center, and I had a blast talking about the new technologies being used by today’s  ham radio enthusiasts.

Here are some pictures of this event . . .

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Bequi Howarth, of the Orange County Mini Maker Faire, who introduced us to the Discovery Science Center.

Links to More Information

Byonics (TinyTrak APRS and Weather Units)

Discovery Science Center, Santa Ana, CA

Orange County Mini Maker Faire, University of California, Irvine (UCI)

Maker Faire

Make: Magazine

American Radio Relay League (ARRL)

CQ Magazine

San Bernardino Microwave Society (SBMS)

Wayne Yoshida LinkedIn Profile

OC Mini Maker Faire 2013 Recap   Leave a comment

FindU.com APRS display of the KH6WZ-5 location beacon at the 2013 OC Mini Maker Faire at UCI

APRS display of the KH6WZ-5 location beacon at the 2013 OC Mini Maker Faire at UCI. Notice the beacon message at the top of the screen capture includes the URL of the event – a great publicity tool!

This past weekend, the second OC Mini Maker Faire happened. And it just so happens to be the second running of my ham radio demonstration called, “Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio (2)!” This is my continuing mission to remind people of two things:

First, “The Maker Movement” is nothing new, Amateur Radio operators have been doing this for a almost a century, and nearly 2 million people worldwide are involved in ham radio in some way.

Second, Ham radio is not necessarily an old man’s hobby where weird guys talk to strangers from garages and basements. We are skilled wireless communicators and use today’s technology, from GPS and microprocessors to lasers and microwave frequency linking.

This time I added static and working displays of my various APRS beacons (KH6WZ, KH6WZ-5, and others). I programmed the OC Mini Maker Faire’s URL to the beacon message so people can take a look at what was happening – an excellent publicity tool!

I also planned on making some 10 GHz contacts with my rig, since this was also the same weekend as the ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest. The transverter covers were removed so people can see the system’s guts.

Based on previous experience at the Discovery Science Center “Meet the Makers” event, I demonstrated radio wave polarization- horizontal vs vertical – with my rig and the microwave strength meter.

Since I had plenty of space, I shared my booth with a company that makes interesting computer and microprocessor related items. This may sound trivial, until you realize this company is run by these three young guys . . .

UCI maker faire 2013 028

Huxley, Max and Ethan showing one of their products called the SmartPac.

There seemed to be more people at this Faire, probably since not too many other events were happening nearby. The 405/605/22 freeway closure did not affect the MF, since it started after the event ended.

More than a dozen hams – either active or at least licensed – stopped by to visit. We talked about this event as well as the Bay Area Maker Faire, and what ham radio activities we are involved with.

One more thing: I met several guys from the San Diego area – they are finalizing the plans to have a Mini Maker Faire in the San Diego area – this is great news. Stay tuned and I will announce an update as soon as I hear something from the committee!

Here are some pictures from the event. I am already thinking of building some new displays for next year.

Presentation: Microwaves: Not Just for Leftovers   Leave a comment

Microwave radio dishes used for ham (Amateur) radio communication.

Microwave radio dishes used for ham (Amateur) radio communication.

The Orange County Mini Maker Faire is coming up (August 17 at UCI), so I added this intro to ham radio on the microwave bands. The Maker Fair coincides with the ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest, and so, rather than missing the contest, I thought it would be fun to try working the contest from the Maker Faire. . . . .

Click here to view the presentation>>>> Microwaves: Not Just for Leftovers