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Episode 26 -- August 8th, 2016 -- Interview with Alan, WA6JBK. Building Radios from old TVs, Shipboard Electronics and Infared Telescopes.
Listen to the episode 51.1 MB MP3
Interview with Adam Spivak, WA6JBK
Alan was first Licensed in 1958 (at age 15) required by highschool electronics class.
With a commercial class Radiotelephone license, he worked on Radar and Radios and other electronics on board a ship.
The distance to and size of an object can be discerned by radar.
Pulses were 400 times per second 1 - 1.5 microsecond wide.
A Clystron was the transmitting tube.
Single Sideband high frequency (2-30 MHz) Radio on board a navy ship uses long wire antennas stretched between 35 ft masts throughout the ship and tuned with an automatic antenna tuner.
A Pitometer is an electromagnet with insulated buttons on either side going through the water and they used that to measure ship's speed.
An Autopatch is a feature of a repater which allows a ham to make telephone calls using the touch-tone pad on their radio through the phone line at the repeater.
That's how hams and public service employees have been able to make phone calls from their car as far back as the late 1960s.
VHF Marine Radio channel 70 is for APRS GPS transponders to be used only in emergencies.
Every large lake has a boat shop has a receiver on channel 16.
Weather Faximilie was a kind of radio transmission mode used for decades for sending weather charts to ships at sea on HF frequencies.
SDR will be covered in a future episode. You can buy a $20 SDR receiver and connect it to your computer (via USB) and an antenna and with free software, you can receive many many different kinds of things, including ham radio operations, police, fire, public service as well as weather faximilie and satellitte pictures directly from the satelittes.
During the Oakland Fire, none of the surrounding Fire Departments had compatible connections to draw water from any Oakland Fire Hydrants, which all used a different standard connection.
Many Ham Radios can be modified to work on other frequencies. Usually, the modification requires cutting a surface mount resistor or two.
Surface Mount Technology is a construction technique for modern electronics which is much harder for people to work with but much easier and therefore, cheaper, for machines to manufacture.
Resistor Values can be learned by reading the colored bands.
In the Olden Days, capacitors had a color code also, but not these days.
All of the infared telescopes in outter space, both in orbit around the Earth as well as some elsewhere in the solar system, including The Hubble Telescope uses cryogenically cooled electronic sensors.
Absolute Zero is zero degrees on the Kelvin scale. Temprature is measured in either degrees farenhight, degrees celcious or degrees Kelvin. To convert from degrees celcious to degrees kelvin, add 273 degrees. That is, 273 degrees K = 0 degrees C.
Everything in the universe vibrates. THe more it vibrates, the warmer we imagine it is. If it stops completely, it is so cold as to be considered to be at 0 degrees kelvin.
Radio Frequency Radiation is completely different from Ionizing Radiation. Two completely different concepts, which unfortunately use the same word ("Radiation").
You can hold up a fluorescent light bulb out in front of a 10 element 2meter beam antenna, when you transmit, the light will light up purple.
Review of static and current electricity, voltage, current, resistance, diodes, transistors
A tube is a transistor which needs a heater to make it work.
Alan wrote a college term paper on the history and manufacture of semiconductor devices back to the first rectifiers, which were copper and copper oxyde.
A cat whisker is galena and steel.
oxydized copper plates mixed with regular copper plates make a rectifier
Nicola Tesla invented 3 phase power, which we use today.
helium in a vaccum is forced to boil and rapidly evaporate and get even colder. That's how the sensors in the infared telescope are kept even colder than outter space.
Refrigerators use the same principle. The change of state from liquid to gas requires energy, if you force that to happen by reducing the pressure of the liquid, it will force it to convert to a gas and draw energy (heat) from its surroundings, thus making cold.
A heat pump works the same way
Mini splits work the same as a heat pump.
Modern solar panel installations often include microinverters, which are a DC to AC converter built onto the back of each individual solar panel. While this makes wiring simpler and cheaper, it also creates an enormous amount of Radio frequency radiation, rendering a radio hobby (and many other kinds of electronics, including computer wifi, cellphones and even well pumping and irrigation computers) potentially inoperative. Micrinverters on each solar panel produce low frequency RF radiation because the manufacturers don't care about building them to keep all the RF in. Some things to try to fix the problem include:
Install RF Filters at each end of every string of PV panels
Bundle the cables and twist them together instead of having them laying flat across the roof
Run the cables through grounded metal conduit, instead of PVC.
Bonding the panels to a metal roof and to a separate ground rod 8 ft in the ground
These problems still existed as recently as 6 months ago.
The cure is a pure DC solar power system with only 1 or 2 giant inverters on the opposite side of the hosue from the ham radios and computers.
Tuesday nights at 7pm on 147.390 MHz or 147.675 Mhz you can listen to the weekly radio net for answering questions.
Yes, Steve Wazniak, the other Steve besides Steve Jobs who together founded Apple Computer was a Ham Radio Operator at one time.
Peter calls to remind us that Surface Mount Soldering is done in a giant pizza oven.
If I've made any mistakes, please Call me or email Kila or you can call us directly at (707) 413-6435. Here is my main website.