Quick Start Guide to RTLSDR and HDSDR Install for Receive Only

Thursday, 10. May 2018

Quick Start Guide for RTLSDR setup.

I whipped this up in response to several requests by friends… Enjoy!

 

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Logging, HF Contesting and Proposed HF Privileges for Technicians

Monday, 9. April 2018

Is contesting really important to the hobby?

That question comes up a lot when talking to new hams. Although discussed in some detail in the ARRL Technician’s Handbook, the actual Technician test (at the time of this writing) has very few questions that mention contesting. Many General and Extra class operators don’t seem to get ‘the whole contest thing’ as well.

So why are contests important? Why should we care about radio sport at all? And what does this have to do with the new proposal put forward by ARRL to the FCC to grant additional HF privileges to Technicians?

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Somewhere in The County…

Tuesday, 13. June 2017

Somewhere in the county…

Monday Morning, 4:31AM. You are blissfully sleeping in your nice warm bed. You hear a noise that is trying to pull you out of your dream, it sounds kinda like a big truck or a freight train in the distance, it seems to be growing closer… You open your eyes, still half asleep, and you notice that the fan over your bed is starting to sway, but just as you think “wow, that’s weird” the approaching noise that originally got your attention slams into your bedroom with a force that you have never experienced before. You try to get out of bed, but get knocked back down. The entire room is shaking furiously. That’s when it hits you… We’re having an earthquake!

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A New Ham’s Guide to Your First Radio.

Tuesday, 11. April 2017

So you just got your Amateur Ticket…

Let me be the first to congratulate you on joining the ranks of Federally Licensed Amateur Radio Operators! You are about to start your journey of discovery and enlightenment that is only available to a select few.

I remember the day I drove 50 miles to take my Technician test. My wife went with me for moral support… well actually she wanted to walk around Old Town Pasadena CA while I was taking my test…. After figuring out the paperwork and going through the gauntlet of Volunteer Examiners all needing to see my ID and paperwork and such, I sat down and somehow managed to pass the element 2 level test, thus receiving my CSCE for my Technician Class License.

WOW! I Passed! Umm… Now What?

I passed. That day, I became a Ham Radio Operator, or Ham for short. I wasn’t all that surprised as I had studied and knew the material, but still, I had done it. I picked up my wife, and we headed back out on the freeway.

Once our conversation sank down to the silence of a long drive, my mind began to ponder the question that eventually hits all newly licensed Hams… What radio should I buy?

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More About Baofeng HTs

Tuesday, 11. April 2017

More About Baofeng HTs.

I wanted to write up some info on inexpensive Chinese HTs to go with my New Ham’s Guide to Your First Radio post. I am planning a video on HTs in the coming weeks, so look for it soon!

Baofeng has many HTs to choose from. However, there is really only two styles that meet the needs of Ham Radio.

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Amateur Radio Station at SCaLE

Wednesday, 8. March 2017

Amateur Radio Station at SCaLE (So Cal Linux Expo)

Several Amateur Radio Operators setup and operated an HF station at the Pasadena Convention Center for a 3 day stretch at the premier Open Source Software event in the US. The event included a booth on the expo floor demonstrating Mesh Networking, as well as a VE testing session for new and upgrading operators. This was the second year that SCaLE invited this group of Amateur Radio Operators to show the latest (and not so latest) technologies used to communicate with other Amateur Operators around the world. I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in the HF station this year by Vern (W6NCT) as an operator and also to man the information table next to the station.

Who Comes To An Open Source Conference?

That’s a great question! If you think it’s a bunch of programmers that spend all their waking hours locked away in dark rooms, typing endlessly on keyboards, eating junk food and downing highly caffeinated beverages, you would only be partially right. The far greater majority of attendees are programmers, engineers and technologists that make their living using or creating open source software. There are also many computer hobbyists and even some younger folks that have a love of technology. In other words, A PERFECT AUDIENCE TO INTRODUCE TO AMATEUR RADIO!

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 Why antenna mounting and position is so very important

Wednesday, 6. April 2016

Why antenna mounting and position is so very important

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Why Nobody Cares About Network Neutrality.

Monday, 21. July 2014

Why nobody cares about Network Neutrality.

In the circles I run in, you can’t go 15 minutes into a conversation without someone bring up Network Neutrality. In my world, it’s a huge deal. And, in my world, there are people on both sides of the issue. If you don’t know what Network Neutrality is, then just pop open your favorite search engine, and type in ‘network neutrality’. You’ll find tons of articles and videos about the subject. All of them asking you to write your elected official, or sign a digital petition. The problem is, for the most part, no one really cares. Sure, there’s a small group of technology people that consider Network Neutrality as one of the most pressing issues of our age, but for the most part, regular folks aren’t getting the message. With so much info available about Network Neutrality from both sides of the issue, you would think people would be all over it.

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Signs of a failing Hard Drive

Thursday, 10. July 2014

Signs of a failing Hard Drive.

Do you know what piece of computer hardware is the most likely component to fail? If you answered the hard drive, you’re absolutely correct! Why? It’s one of the few moving parts left in a computer. With a hard drive, it’s not if it will fail, it’s when!

So, we know it’s going to fail. What can we do to:

  • Protect our data from loss.
  • Predict when a hard drive will fail.
  • Recover from a failure.

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Heartbleed – What you need to know.

Wednesday, 9. April 2014

Heartbleed – What is it? (for non geeks)

The Heartbleed bug was caused by a programming error in a software package called OpenSSL. This error had the potential of allowing bad people to attach to secure web and email servers, as well as services that rely on the TLS/SSL protocol, and steal the private encryption key off the servers. The TLS/SSL protocol is what puts the pretty little lock in the address bar in your browser. The private key is what the owners of the sites you go to are suppose to keep secret, and not share with anyone because if someone has it, they can decrypt the encrypted data traveling between your system and the server. THIS IS BAD…

Heartbleed – What is it? (for geeks)

The Heartbleed bug was caused by a programming error in the OpenSSL library that deals with TLS handshakes. A couple years back, a new RFC (rfc 6520) proposed a new extension to the TLS protocol that would allow a heartbeat to be exchanged between the client and server to reduce the number of re-negotiations during a TLS session. This all sounds good, and actually is a very beneficial to the protocol in general, but when it was implemented in OpenSSL, an error in the way the code was written allowed a request to grab a bunch of data without checking the boundaries of the data itself. This could allow someone to make a request crafted in a certain way that would cause OpenSSL to return 64k of protected memory data possibly containing the SSL private key of the server.

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