Archive for December 2013

Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio at the 2013 San Diego Mini Maker Faire   Leave a comment

UPDATE: Articles on San Diego’s First Maker Faire:

Inventors Show Off DYI Drones, Robots

Maker Faire Celebrates 100 Faires Around the Globe in 2013

Crowd Deluges San Diego’s First Mini Maker Faire: An Xconomy Slide Show

The First San Diego Mini Maker Faire Takes Off!

A Mini Maker Faire makes its debut in San Diego at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Despite the sometimes heavy rain, most all of the exhibitors (Makers) showed up. San Diego Mini Maker Faire organizers kept the weather forecast updates on a positive note: “…Forecast: 100% Chance of Great Exhibits” – an excellent promotional phrase.

There were around 5,000 tickets purchased, amazing for a first run in inclement weather. Another positive indicator of interest in San Diego area “Making” is the number of Learn to Solder kits that were made during the event – all 350 of the blinky LED boards were built on Saturday.

The San Diego Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio team

Dave WA6CGR (San Bernardino Microwave Society – SBMS)

Dennis W6DQ (SBMS)

Jason W6IEE (SBMS)

Kerry N6IZW (San Diego Microwave Group – SDMG and SBMS)

Walt (SBMS)

Wayne KH6WZ (SBMS)

In addition to visitors from our own radio clubs (Rein W6SZ and his XYL, Larry K6HLH and his XYL, Ed W6OYJ, Michelle W5NYV and Paul KB5MU) many other San Diego area hams stopped by. As in previous exhibits, there is a pattern: Those who have a callsign but are not on the air, those who have callsigns and are active on the FM repeaters but not much else.

But this is one of the reasons I developed the Maker Faire theme called Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio – I want to show something new to licensed (active as well as inactive) hams, and I want to expose those not familiar with ham radio to what some of us are doing with twenty-first century technology in our hobby – we are embracing and doing hands-on experiments with microprocessors/microcontrollers, GPS, micro- and millimeter-wave construction techniques and other exotic radio-related technologies. We are having fun while learning new skills and expertise.

I hope this idea spreads to other active ham radio groups in other locations – surely there are other hams like us who are doing something more interesting than just talking to strangers, friends and family, right? If you are a ham radio operator and are involved in doing something interesting, let me know and we should join forces to help each other increase interest and participation in this concept – since – as most all hams know – being a Maker is certainly not a new idea!

Here are some pictures from the San Diego Mini Maker Faire. I have two videos posted on my YouTube channel: Walt’s Radio Wave Demonstration and The Electric Giraffe

Map showing the KH6WZ APRS beacon location.

Map showing the KH6WZ APRS beacon location. The location is approximate, I had to simulate the GPS coordinates since signals were blocked in the steel and concrete exhibit hall.

Despite the rain, there was a constant crush of people in, near and around the Not Your Grandpa's Ham Radio booth at the 2013 San Diego Mini Maker Faire

Despite the rain, there was a constant crush of people in, near and around the Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio booth at the 2013 San Diego Mini Maker Faire

Not Your Grandpa's Ham Radio at the San Diego Mini Maker Faire - We were lucky there was a no-show next to us, so we combined the empty space with ours at the end of an aisle - good show!

Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio at the San Diego Mini Maker Faire – We were lucky there was a no-show next to us, so we combined the empty space with ours at the end of an aisle – good show!

A visitor (striped shirt and black hat) tries some of the hands-on microwave physics demonstrations made by Walt

A visitor (striped shirt and black hat) tries some of the hands-on microwave physics demonstrations made by Walt

Dennis brought his 10 GHz / 24 GHz dual band station with software defined radio and notebook computer. The "waterfall" display is used to visually indicate very weak to very strong signals across the receive band. The digital signal processing in this system can improve signal reception

Dennis brought his 10 GHz / 24 GHz dual band station with software defined radio and notebook computer. The “waterfall” display is used to visually indicate very weak to very strong signals across the receive band. The digital signal processing in this system can improve signal reception

Two more projects by Dennis - On the left, a transmit/receive sequencer, used to turn on or turn off circuit modules (or functions) in a specific order. To the right is a circuit under construction/proof of concept receive system using direct synthesis.

Two more projects by Dennis – On the left, a transmit/receive sequencer, used to turn on or turn off circuit modules (or functions) in a specific order. To the right is a circuit under construction/proof of concept receive system using direct synthesis.

Jason W6IEE brought his airplane IFF detector. I will get a better description of his display in a later update.

Jason W6IEE brought his airplane IFF detector. I will get a better description of his display in a later update.

Here's one of Kerry's gadgets - a surplus QualComm microwave diode being used to generate a wideband microwave signal. Intended to be used to detect a microwave signal to verify transmitter operation, it can also transmit a signal for voice communication - in this case, to my 10 GHz transverter system shown in the background.

Here’s one of Kerry’s gadgets – a surplus QualComm microwave diode being used to generate a wideband microwave signal. Intended to be used to detect a microwave signal to verify transmitter operation, it can also transmit a signal for voice communication – in this case, to my 10 GHz transverter system shown in the background.

Here are three of my projects. On the far left, is a microwave field strength detector, this is used to demonstrate vertical or horizontal polarization, the KH6WZ unit in the middle is an APRS beacon, transmitting GPS coordinates (this unit generated and transmitted the GPS coordinates used to generate the location on the APRS locator map at the top of this page) and at the far right is my distance record-setting 10 GHz microwave transmitter-receiver system.

Here are three of my projects. On the far left, is a microwave field strength detector, this is used to demonstrate vertical or horizontal polarization, the KH6WZ unit in the middle is an APRS beacon, transmitting GPS coordinates (this unit generated and transmitted the GPS coordinates used to generate the location on the APRS locator map at the top of this page) and at the far right is my distance record-setting 10 GHz microwave transmitter-receiver system.

Visitor's to Not Your Grandpa's Ham Radio at the San Diego event were able to see some vintage 1960s microwave ham radio units - like this "Synplexer" built by Ed Munn W6OYJ. A pair of these units were on display so we could demonstrate full duplex wide band communication on 2.4 GHz (2400 MHz)

Visitor’s to Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio at the San Diego event were able to see some vintage 1960s microwave ham radio units – like this “Synplexer” built by Ed Munn W6OYJ. A pair of these units were on display so we could demonstrate full duplex wide band communication on 2.4 GHz (2400 MHz)

Here's a closer look at the Synplexer

Here’s a closer look at the Synplexer

Who's that?

Who’s that?

It's great to see young ladies get excited about technical things. There's a San Diego area high school program that includes a robotics class and competition

It’s great to see young ladies get excited about technical things. There’s a San Diego area high school program that includes a robotics class and competition

Quadcopters seem to be trendy with Makers. Maybe this is where Jeffery Beezos got that idea for small package delivery?

Quadcopters seem to be trendy with Makers. Maybe this is where Jeffery Bezos got that idea for small package delivery?

MakerPlace - a place where fellow Makers can gather and make, share and borrow tools and ideas to make things. Funny, it sounds like what a good and active ham radio club should be

MakerPlace – a place where fellow Makers can gather and make, share and borrow tools and ideas to make things. Funny, it sounds like what a good and active ham radio club should be

Russell - the Electric Giraffe at the 2013 San Diego Mini Maker Faire. Russell and its builder Lindsay, are San Diego residents

Russell – the Electric Giraffe at the 2013 San Diego Mini Maker Faire. Russell and its builder Lindsay, are San Diego residents

The Electric Giraffe - This image may give you some idea of Russell's size - this is the "down" position, with head lowered for crowd interaction

The Electric Giraffe – This image may give you some idea of Russell’s size – this is the “down” position, with head lowered for crowd interaction

Links to More Information

Amateur Radio General Information

CQ Amateur Radio Magazine

American Radio Relay League (ARRL)

Polaplexer for 2.3GHz (2300 MHz) – a Vintage Microwave Transceiver

Another Polaplexer Article

APRS – Automatic Packet Reporting System -Beacons

Byonics – I Use TinyTrak Beacon Kits

Microwave Ham Radio Clubs in Southern California

San Bernardino Microwave Society (SBMS)

Microwave Group of San Diego / San Diego Microwave Group

San Diego Area Radio Clubs

Go here and search for ham radio clubs in your area

Russell the Electric Giraffe 

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Maker Faire Projects from the Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio Booth   Leave a comment

Announcing San Diego Mini Maker Faire 2013 - Visit the Maker Booth called "Not Your Grandpa's Ham Radio"

Announcing San Diego Mini Maker Faire 2013 – Visit the Maker Booth called “Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio”

Here’s a quick overview of Maker Faire projects from past “Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio” exhibits. . .

The KH6WZ 10 GHz transmitter-receiver unit on display at the Orange County Mini Maker Faire  on the UCI campus

The KH6WZ 10 GHz (X-band) transmitter-receiver unit on display at the Orange County Mini Maker Faire on the UCI campus

A vintage Helium-Neon (HeNe) laser communicator by Dennis W6DQ

A vintage Helium-Neon (HeNe) laser communicator by Dennis W6DQ – from the 2012 Bay Area Maker Faire

An audio frequency test station with an oscilloscope, signal generator and audio amplifier. A microphone inserted into the amplifier input became a popular function for kids and adults - Speak into the microphone and see what you sound like!

An audio frequency test station with an oscilloscope, signal generator and audio amplifier. A microphone inserted into the amplifier input became a popular function for kids and adults – Speak into the microphone and see what you sound like!

KH6WZ-5 APRS beacon - active and sending position data at the 2013 OC Mini Maker Faire at UCI. The beacon message included the Faire's URL.

KH6WZ-5 APRS beacon – active and sending position data at the 2013 OC Mini Maker Faire at UCI. The beacon message included the Faire’s URL.

Maker Faire 2012-1 030

Morse Code reader/sender with wireless keyboard and radio interface by Brian W6BY. This setup uses Ham Stack modules available from Sierra Radio

"Space Ball" azimuth-elevation antenna positioner, with wireless remote control and iPhone interface, by Brian W6BY

“Space Ball” azimuth-elevation antenna positioner, with wireless remote control and iPhone interface, by Brian W6BY

 

 

KH6WZ APRS beacon sending out the Discovery Science Center location

KH6WZ APRS beacon sending out the Discovery Science Center location

 

2012 Bay Area Maker Faire - Left to Right:

Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio 2012 Bay Area Maker Faire team – Left to Right: Brian W6BY, Dennis W6DQ, Wayne KH6WZ, Tony KC6QHP, and Mike Lavelle K6ML

Jeri Ellsworth - aka Circuit Girl - at the 2012 Bay Area Maker Faire. She's playing her 8-bit bass key-tar.

Jeri Ellsworth – aka Circuit Girl – at the 2012 Bay Area Maker Faire. She’s playing her 8-bit bass key-tar.

 

More projects coming soon, so stay tuned!

Type 65 Coupe Update: Exhaust Side Pipes and More Fuel System Stuff   Leave a comment

I got bored with figuring out the fuel line routing and filtering, and it was a nice warm day today, so I decided to paint the Coupe exhaust system pipes and silencers. Even though they were stored in a corner of my dining room, and were covered with oil, there was a lot of rust forming on the surface of the pipes. My kit is now a little over a year old, and I wanted to prevent further rusting.

Here is the box of pipes and associated mounting hardware from The Factory. . .

Type 65 Coupe Exhaust, Uncoated, from Factory Five Racing, after one year

Type 65 Coupe Exhaust, Uncoated, from Factory Five Racing, after one year

There is an option to get the pipes ceramic coated, I probably should have ordered the exhaust with the coating. I noticed the brochure on the Factory Five Racing website has the exhaust listed as ceramic coated at no charge. I wonder why I missed that part?

I used silver Rustoleum BBQ paint (Ultra) to finish the exhaust. But first, I prepped the pipes with wire brushes, to remove the rust and roughen up the surface, and then wiped them with acetone to degrease so the paint will stick better.

I used a wire brush on a drill motor to get the rust off and roughen the surface.

I used a wire brush on a drill motor to get the rust off and roughen the surface.

Type 65 Coupe side exhaust pipes painted with silver BBQ paint - I think it looks OK.

Type 65 Coupe side exhaust pipes painted with silver BBQ paint – I think it looks OK.

The BBQ paint is a bit soft, I think this is because it needs to expand and contract when heated and cooled. But it will be easy and cheap to touch up.

I am not sure what the final exhaust side pipe color will be, so I sprayed three coats of the silver on just to prevent further rusting. I may change the color to black, since I want the main body to be white.

I did manage to mount the pre-filter for the fuel system. My 302 is fuel injected with an MSD Atomic EFI system, and came with most of the parts, including the fuel filters, hose, and external fuel pump. The first filter mounts where the Factory Five fuel filter is located, near the quad shock mount on the right side of the chassis. The MSD-supplied filter is smaller than the one supplied in the kit, so I had to figure out how to mount it. I am using a pair of electrical conduit clips to mount the first filter, as shown.

Electrical conduit clips are used to mount the first fuel filter to the chassis

Electrical conduit clips are used to mount the first fuel filter to the chassis

The fuel pump will mount to the bottom of the Factory Five Metal battery box. If you have IRS and want to use the same box, you must modify the battery box slightly, as mentioned in an earlier post. In addition, you will have to figure out how to make the battery box removable, since it will block the differential filler plug.

I will be mounting the battery box with nuts and bolts, and mount it so that it can tilt upwards for access to the rear end filler plug. More details and pictures will follow when I get to that chore. Here’s a sneak peek at where the external fuel pump will be mounted.

Type 65 Coupe with IRS - battery box and external fuel pump mounting location

Type 65 Coupe with IRS – battery box and external fuel pump mounting location

Turkey Breast Pastrami on the Big Green Egg   Leave a comment

I love a good pastrami sandwich. The salty, peppery, thinly-sliced meat on a toasted bun with a little mustard kind of pastrami sandwich, like they serve at a place in West Los Angeles (Culver City) called Johnnie’s Pastrami. Amazingly, my dad used to go there when he was a single dude in the 1950s. . . . and he brought us kids there. I still remember the bowl of pickles and the giant box of French fries – and of course, the pastrami sandwich. On the Johnnie’s Pastrami “About” page, it says, “Johnnie’s Pastrami was established in 1952 and has become a Southern California landmark. The juke boxes on the counters and booths are all original. So are some of the waitresses.”

So when I saw the Turkey Pastrami on the  first season of Primal Grill (on DVD), I had to give it a try. It was several summers ago, and I looked at several supermarkets for a turkey breast, but couldn’t find any. So I made it with chicken breasts instead. And it tasted great!

Earlier today, I made turkey breast pastrami – and it is equally good, although a little on the too salty side for me. I think this is because I marinated the turkey breasts too long (almost 2 days) instead of 24 hours. I will try it again to see if I can get a better result.

Here’s how we did today. . . . .. .

Dry rub marinade for turkey pastrami

Dry rub marinade for turkey pastrami

On the Big Green Egg - 250 degrees F, with some hickory chips.

On the Big Green Egg – 250 degrees F, with some hickory chips.

Slicing the turkey pastrami - so juicy it squirts!

Slicing the turkey pastrami – so juicy it squirts!

A plate of turkey pastrami slices

A plate of turkey pastrami slices

Bread Pudding with Raisins, Bananas and Chocolate Chips   Leave a comment

I had a whole sack of leftover dinner rolls from Thankgiving. Rather than make something boring like croutons, I decided to make some bread pudding. Oddly, bread pudding is not one of my favorites, but I decided to customize a basic recipe by adding some more sweet stuff.

I roughly based my version on a recipe from Williams-Sonoma and added a quarter cup of chocolate chips and one very ripe banana.

Now – this is so much better.

No, this did not go into the Big Green Egg, but maybe I will try that next time – maybe a savory bread pudding can be made, like this idea from Cooking Light. . . 

Here are some pictures:

KH6WZ Bread Pudding with Bananas, Raisins and Chocolate Chips - ready for the oven

KH6WZ Bread Pudding with Bananas, Raisins and Chocolate Chips – ready for the oven

KH6WZ Bread Pudding with Bananas, Raisins and Chocolate Chips - fresh from the oven

KH6WZ Bread Pudding with Bananas, Raisins and Chocolate Chips – fresh from the oven

KH6WZ Bread Pudding with Bananas, Raisins and Chocolate Chips - I wish I had some ice cream to go with this puddin'

KH6WZ Bread Pudding with Bananas, Raisins and Chocolate Chips – I wish I had some ice cream to go with this puddin’