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Showing posts from May, 2011

Inventor of the crystal set worked on global warming... prior to 1902

While researching the Beverage antenna which was tested in part at Otter Cliffs Naval Station, I came across an interesting article in Popular Science from 1922 about the inventor of the crystal detector, George W. Pickard. It turns out that OM Pickard was at the Blue Hills Observatory in Milton Hills, MA working on the apparently age-old problem of global climate change when he heeded the call of the Smithsonian Institution to experiment with kites to determine the dependence of radio propagation on the height of the transmitting aerial.

Incidentally, at the time, it was thought that gathering a sufficient amount of data to prove or disprove the hypothesis of global climate change would take the work of 'countless generations'. In the same issue, there are articles about the 'dwindling supply of gasoline' and charging batteries using windmills.

Google App Engine and Windows 7 Snipping Tool Incompatability

I saw an issue in the last two days with app engine that took me awhile to fix. I was saving pictures using the 'Snipping Tool' in Windows 7 as .png files and then uploading them to my Google app engine site. The pictures were subsequently not available on the site. I was never able to make the pictures available. However, after pasting pictures into Microsoft Pain on Windows 7 and then saving them as .png files and uploading to my Google app engine site, they became available online. I don't know what causes the issue, but it seems easy enough to avoid once it's known.

Have fun!

New Help Topic and a Few Bug Fixes on the Free FCC Ham Radio License Practice Exams

A new help topic on gray-line propagation has been added to the extra class practice exam. Any feedback would be very appreciated.

The ham radio practice exams have been updated again. There was a bug that was causing some tests to hang up on their last question. It's fixed! The figure E5-2 was missing, and has been added to the tests.

If you spot anything else, please contact me at

Tesla's Wardenclyffe Lab Restoration Featured in RASL 10

The restoration effort to save Tesla's last existing laboratory in Shoreham, NY got a mention in RASL #10. To learn more about what's going on and how you can help go to:

There will be a conference at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Saturday November 5th to support and raise awareness for the effort. If you're interested, you can find out more at:

Conference Call for Papers

About the Tesla Science Center

We're also working on setting up an amateur radio special event station to transmit from somewhere near Wardenclyffe that day. Any interest from the hams?

FCC Commercial Operator License Element 5 Free Practice Exam

The Element 5 practice exam is ready to go at The grid below shows which elements are required for the different FCC Comercial Operator Licenses.

The Flying Rockmite on Dashtoons!

The flying rockmite that uses official Dash! dogbone antenna insulators is featured on this week! Jeff K1NSS also waxed poetic about wire antennas. Check out the awesome cartoon!

FCC Commercial Operator License Element 3 Free Practice Exam

The Element 3 practice exam is ready to go at The grid below shows which elements are required for the different FCC Comercial Operator Licenses.

Four New Cosponsors for HR 607

On May 10th four more representatives cosponsored HR 607 which impacts amateur radio frequency allocations in the 70 cm band. They are:

Rep Wittman, Robert J. [VA-1] - 5/10/2011
Rep Mica, John L. [FL-7] - 5/10/2011
Rep Buchanan, Vern [FL-13] - 5/10/2011
Rep Reichert, David G. [WA-8] - 5/10/2011

If you're an amateur radio operator from one of these districts, you might want to write your representative.

iHAB-2 Launch Video

Sounds like the recent iHAB-4 launch went well! Here's a video the iHAB-2 launch we helped out with:

First Flying Rockmite QSO!

I made my first QSO with WD8AFB of Orlando, FL with the new Rockmite 20 yesterday. That's 974 miles from Sound Beach, NY on about half a watt. The antenna design is a little different. Instead of running coax from the radio up to the antenna, the radio is part of the antenna.  A hijacked length of cat-5 ethernet cable brings the control and power lines down from above.

I used Dashtoons brand antenna insulators as quick disconnects so I can take the radio down during our frequent rains here on Long Island.

The keyer was a bit primitive for this first QSO:

Map of the QSO:

New Goslings!

The new batch of goslings hatched out here! Scroll down for a video!

Extra Class Exam Video Help Begins!

It seems like some of the topics for the US extra class exam would be better served by help videos instead of long detailed written help pages. So, here's the first video help topic for Copasetic Flows free ham radio practice exams. It covers direct digital synthesizers. Please let me know what you think and what could be improved or changed.

Video seems to have been in the air for ham radio this weekend. Here are some of my favorite ham radio blogs that also posted videos this weekend:

SolderSmoke: WSPR the Movie
G4ILO: Installing APRSISCE/32
W2AEW's Dorkage Blog: Delayed Timebase operation example
GOKYA: GB0CMS, Caister Marconi Station

Foggy Beach Walk and some Waves

This was a walk near Sound Beach, NY
The Waves:

The walk:

MIT Thermo... Studying for Quals... Notes and Video

Lots of cool stuff! This lecture has nice clean explanations of:
1. How a heat engine diagram is used
2. What adiabiatic means, (doesn’t exchange heat outside the system)
3. Why work examples are inexact, (they’re path dependent)
4. van der Waals equation of state


Adiabatic: No transfer of heat between the system and the outside world. Can be reversible and not.

Isobaric: constant pressure
Isothermal: constant temperature

triple point of water is used as a reference point for the Kelvin scale because it is the same everywhere.

Ideal gas law only holds for a very small range.

21:00 van der Waals equation of state

derivation of van der Waals, b is the volume consumed by the hard sphere molecules. a is the attractive force that slightly reduces pressure. a is divided by the molar volume squared because it is more likely to affect things in smaller volumes and less likely in larger volumes.

31:00 Convention in the definition of work. The environment compressing the gas is called pos…