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Neil Martinsen-Burrell
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Mucca Pazza Tiny Desk Concert

These lovable freaks make me wish I could play a band instrument. Maybe there's room for a second

http://www.npr.org/event/music/384964401/mucca-pazza-tiny-desk-concert
With 23 members, the performance-art marching band is the biggest ever to play the Tiny Desk, complete with horns, woodwinds, strings, percussion and several cheerleaders.
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Dominique Bouladou's profile photo
 
super bande encore....!
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Brin Knows Privacy

Science fiction author (and futurist even) +David Brin  is the most cogent voice talking about privacy in the modern world.  As he does on most topics, he veers away from knee-jerk techno panic while also avoiding head-in-the-sand ignorance of repercussions.

After listening to +Leo Laporte and +Jeff Jarvis too many times on This Week in Google argue childishly about privacy, I submit this modest proposal.  +Leo Laporte should interview +David Brin on his show Triangulation about The Transparent Society (http://www.amazon.com/The-Transparent-Society-Technology-Between/dp/0738201448) a book published 15 years ago that presages everything we have seen this past year from Snowden to Ferguson.

Let's make this idea viral enough to actual happen.  Re-share this post if you'd like to see it happen
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Daryl Fallin's profile photoRobert Anstett's profile photoJack Matthews's profile photo
 
I second this to have +David Brin on Triangulation.  +Leo Laporte 
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Homebrew Arduino Morse Code Keyer

This is a homebrew Morse Code keyer based on an Arduino Leonardo from Borderless Electronics and the code/schematic from K3NG (blog.radioartisan.com/arduino-cw-keyer).  The hookup between the board that I built and the Arduino is a little hairy but I took good notes on the color scheme.   I already had a couple of these Arduino boards from a very nice +Indiegogo campaign and I knew one of them was destined for this project.

There are two buttons, a command button and a single memory slot.  (When you've been sending CQ by hand on a straight key, one memory seems like complete luxury.)  I installed a piezo buzzer for audio feedback from the command system but I expect that I will use my radio's sidetone when sending CW.  The key line is an RCA jack to differentiate it and to match the connector on my TenTec Omni C which is where I intend to primarily use this.

I had considered trying to be elegant and create a sort of shield from header pins that would plug in atop the Arduino, but without PCB etching and a drill press, I didn't think that I could achieve the necessary accuracy.  This was the simplest setup that I could dream up with what I had on hand. The USB and power jacks are still usable and the Arduino could very easily be switched out for a Nano board (e.g. http://www.ebay.com/itm/271545629048) for packaging in a small enclosure.

Now I need to finish my homebrew paddle like +Steve wGØAT.

#arduino #hamradio
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N1MM on Mac OS X under Wine

When I share my fledgling interest in contesting, people always suggest that I get started using N1MM Logger, one of the most advanced contest logging programs.  I would love to take their advice, but it is a Windows program and all of my computers are Macs.  I could run a Windows virtual machine, but then I would need a copy of the Windows OS to install on the VM (not in the budget).

Today, I remembered that there was another way to run Windows programs on the Mac, the Wine project.  Wine is a reimplementation of the core Windows system on another operating system.  It is advanced enough to run many, if not most, Windows programs.  Originally for Linux, there is also a version for Mac OS X.

It takes a while to install from source using Homebrew (http://brew.sh) as it has to compile Wine and all of its dependencies, but it eventually installed.  Following the nice write-up of KM4IK (www.qsl.net/l/lu7did/docs/contest/WINE_N1MM_english.pdf) I installed one more set of DLLs using winetricks.  I found I had to run the wine command from the N1MM directory to find the N1MM DLLs, but it looks to be up and running.

I don't need any rig control facilities, so I'm not concerned about driver support and the like, but it is a very nice way to record QSOs in the contest situation.  I've been using CW contests as a place to practice my Morse code skills and I'll probably be using N1MM now to keep track of those contacts.
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Neil Martinsen-Burrell

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Kindle death mask 
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THX 1138's profile photoGerald Smith's profile photoWalter Guyll's profile photoNeil Martinsen-Burrell's profile photo
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Even more deconstructionism: the book is "Cloud Atlas".
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A personal canon

The wife of my favorite professor in college, Joni Moody, made this list for me, a young math major.  In the umpteen years since, I've gone back to the list and tried to figure out what the organizing principle might be.  The check marks are the ones that I have read and you can see I cherry-picked the easy ones.

I found the original list recently while moving and I figured I should take a snapshot of it so if/when I lose the actual paper, then I'll still have a digital record of it.  Since taking the picture I've been trying to get a hold of one of the unread books so I can get back to making progress, but none of them are showing up in any of my local libraries.  I could interlibrary loan them, but the pressure to finish in a certain time frame is hard on me at this point in my life.

If this was the town square, I'd ask my fellow villagers if they had any of the books on the list that I could borrow.  So, do you?
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Sorry, I don't have them here (Witness, The Face of Battle, and Red Star Over China) but I will offer that if you read Red Star Over China, it is required that you immediately follow it with MAO, by Jung Chen, so you will have the truth to go with the propaganda. ;-)
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Neil Martinsen-Burrell

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Apparently I have some many messages in the mailbox that the message counter wrapped over to negative numbers. That's better than Inbox Zero!
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I have hope they use different technology in their autonomous cars...
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"She believed collage was the greatest of all the arts"

After finishing building my homebrew Arduino keyer, it worked great, but it was unwieldy with a loose piece of copper-clad board with the circuit components that were jumpered over to the Arduino.  In fact, the copper-clad board shorted out the pins on the Arduino power connector and seemingly fried the voltage regulator.  On a second Arduino board, with some more careful insulation (a sheet of paper) it worked well enough for me to want to package it up.

I'm a "use what you have" kind of ham so I cut down a cardboard box from the recycling to the size I wanted.  I used aluminum foil and double-sided tape for shielding on the inside of the box.  Finally, I needed to cover an ugly ding in the top of the box (what do you expect from the recycle bin).

So, I cut out a picture from the latest QST and taped it on top!  It won't fool anyone for long, but I get a chuckle out of seeing my dream radio on top of my very humble homebrew morse code keyer.

(_Song lyric from "Estelle" by Dan Bern: http://danbern.com/lyrics/estelle/_)
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Bob Beeman's profile photoGunnar Widell's profile photoIWTREERREIV - OM/CB/SWL's profile photo
 
Great idea on the KX3 pic. If you want a good little keyer that doesn't cost much, just build a PicoKeyer kit from hamgadgets. $28 including plastic box.
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Gimmick Key

A capacitor formed from two strands of wire is a gimmick capacitor, so this must be a gimmick key for CW.

I was vacationing with my family in Northern Wisconsin and threw my QRP portable bag in the back when I was loading the car.  On our second night, I put the end-fed half wave up in the tree, and then I realized that I had left my morse code key on the radio bench back home. (I'm not the kind of guy to have multiple keys in my stable.).  I did a little listening that night but gave up dejected.

The next night, I realized that my bag still had the cable I use to connect the straight key to the radio.  It's made out of a piece of coax cable with the two conductors twisted to go in the key terminals.  With a little practice holding the loose ends in my left hand, I was able to key reasonably enough to have a short QSO with W6OGC with 5W and a couple of wires!

What a gimmick!
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David Witkowski's profile photoPaul Collins's profile photoJack Matthews's profile photo
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I'm currently building a  6 metre receiver, which uses a gimmick capacitor in the circuit
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End Fed Antenna Coupler Mistakes

I'm putting together a very basic portable QRP CW station and I've got the radio (HB-1A), the batteries (8xAA NiMH), the key (J-38) and now I needed an antenna.  Following the schematic from AA5TB (http://www.aa5tb.com/coupler2.html) I put together this little unit in a copper-clad box with a BNC on one end and a binding post on the other.

When I hooked it up to the analyzer, it performed terribly!  No resonance on 40m and really, really low impedance at resonance on the higher bands.  I rebuilt the circuit from scratch on a blank piece of breadboard and got it right.  Then when I was putting my new version into this box, I realized I had made a huge mistake that rendered the device pictured below completely broken.

Can you tell from the picture what my mistake was?
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Andrew Hamm's profile photoSteve Parks's profile photoNeil Martinsen-Burrell's profile photo
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The solder at the bottom is only to hold the box together.  The binding post wasn't even connected to the resonant circuit.  "Tank in a box", I like that.

All is well now with a re-wrapped toroid and the addition of that one all-important wire.
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QRP Dummy Load

I've been gradually homebrewing the equipment for building QRp radios.  This 8W 50 ohm dummy load is my most recent creation.  I did have a much larger dummy load housed in a paint can (http://www.k4eaa.com/dummy.html) but this one should be much more convenient.

The BNC connector is the RF input and the 4 parallel 200 ohm 2W resistors shunt to the ground plane to provide the resistive termination.  The yellow capacitor is in series with the RCA jack which provides a convenient test point for measuring RF power.

There's a 1N4148 diode hiding in the picture from the RCA jack to ground.  A 1N34A germanium diode would be typical (http://www.n5ese.com/dummy3.htm for example) for better sensitivity and higher reverse voltage breakdown, but the 1N4148 is what I had on had.  The reverse breakdown voltage is still 75V which corresponds to about 14W peak-to-peak into 50 ohms, so it should be well within the power rating of the resistors.

It's a lot easier to screw this onto the end of a coax jumper than it is to haul out a quart of mineral oil!
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Brian Morrison's profile photoNeil Martinsen-Burrell's profile photo
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+Brian Morrison this is only intended for use up to 30 MHz.  I could definitely shorten the leads I guess, they are already metal film resistors.

It has almost no reactance up to at least 90 MHz on an antenna analyzer.  Oddly enough, it appears to have a resistance of 60 ohms, so I might take it apart and measure resistors with a DVM to get exactly 50 ohms.
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Now That's a Calculator

It's good to see my HP-48G getting some use since its last workout when I was in college.  I've been working on ham radio projects in the evenings and there is nothing faster than a Reverse Polish Notation (RPN) calculator for quick computations on the "bench" (read: dining room table).

Then this morning, my eight year-old saw what I had and wanted to know where the equals sign was.  I couldn't resist teaching her about RPN and getting her interested in the sum and product of the first n integers.  We made some tables and discovered just how big 15 factorial is and what scientific notation is and why you might need it.

I have fond memories of learning RPN on my own Dad's HP 15C which is still my ur-calculator.  I also remember when I needed a graphing calculator in high school we went out and bought this very calculator at a retail store with its big fat manual and wonderful clicky buttons.  Boy did I feel like the king geek at school with a calculator that nobody else could use!
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kierra land's profile photoEd S's profile photoPak Jan Lee's profile photoBrian Jones's profile photo
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My first and greatest calculator romance was with a TI SR50.  It wasn't RPN, but it was amazing in its time.  In my electronics courses at a junior college, it taught me a lot of math that I had not learned in high school, mainly trig.  Red led display, black body, lots of buttons--mmmmm.  The great thing about a single, one-purpose machine is that you can get really good with it without having the software engineers update the system and throw you into confusion.  Essential tools shouldn't change every two years.
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Have him in circles
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Independent Statistics Educator
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  • Stats With Neil
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  • Wartburg College
  • University of North Carolina
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Teacher, geek, father
Introduction
I'm an independent statistics educator.  I work as a consultant with graduate students and companies who aren't statistics experts.  I've been involved in teaching math for over fifteen years and I love to share my experience.

In other news, I'm also a gadget lover, a ham radio operator, and a farmer.
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Burrell