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WAS Complete!
radio : by Tommy - April 22nd 2011, 10:01PM
radio
After working diligently last Fall, then doing absolutely nothing with HF for most of the winter, I finally got back on the air this evening and finished contacting the last of all 50 states. Tonight I was able to contact Wayne, KB1TMA, for #50, Rhode Island.

I can now say I have talked to someone in all 50 states and will soon have a postcard from each of those contacts to prove I've done it.
Contacting all 50 states has been something I've tried to do for years, but never having a permanent setup made the task near impossible. I was close when I was living in Nacogdoches, but my count started back at zero when I moved to Longview.

Joining and checking into the OMISS net really helped me knock out a lot of states early on, and I probably could have done the entire job in under a couple months if I had really, really tried, but I took a leisurely pace and just happened to check into the net tonight with that last hard-to-get state. So thanks for the help OMISS members.
Next up? Probably the Worked All Continents award. (I only need Antarctica and Asia.) Worked all Canada may not be out of the question, but I doubt I ever get so detailed as to try for the Worked All Counties award.

tags: was ham radio arrl

( Comments : 1 | Full article )

 
Programming Challenge 2
programming : by Tommy - February 23rd 2011, 10:16PM
programming
Ok programmers and code monkeys, it's time for Programming Challenge 2. Nothing overly complicated this time. I was just messing around and thought you'd like this quick little brain teaser.
It's a "just for fun" challenge. Choose your favorite language for this one. Here it goes:

Part A: Display/print a vertical sin wave using * characters.
Part B: Display same sin wave horizontally using * characters.

Part A should get you going in the right direction (esp. if you've never played with the sin functions in your language), but Part B is a bit more tricky. No graphics libraries, cheater.

Post source in comments (must be logged in to comment).

Winner to receive 1 small shot of self satisfaction of completing trivial problem through useless challenge on obscure blog.

tags: programming sin_wave

( Comments : 4 | Full article )

 
HOWTO: Working FM Ham Satellites
radio : by Tommy - January 22nd 2011, 03:37PM
radio
A local ham recently asked me the best way to talk on ham radio satellites using what he already has on hand. It doesn't take much, although some more specialized equipment does make it much easier, but the point is - you don't need much beyond what you may already own if you have a basic VHF/UHF station. The following is my email to him:

Which birds to target and how to track them
"The best satellites to start with are AO-27, AO-Echo and SaudiSat-1C. (Satellites go by different names depending on where you're getting your info.)

I usually direct people to Heavens-Above to get the latest pass information. The exact time and angle of each pass varies from day to day, so you either need tracking software or a website to tell you when the next pass is over your location. With Heavens Above, you need to enter your longitude and latitude, so it can figure out the information for you.

I've put in the longitude and latitude in for my QTH here in Longview on this link:
http://www.heavens-above.com/main.aspx?Lat=32.5560&Lng=-94.7474&Alt=365&Loc=N5DUX&TZ=CST
(change the location by editing the link or click on the link under Configuration at the top of the page)

When you go to the website, you'll be shown a lot of different links. For our purposes, we're interested in "Radio Amateur Satellites". Click on that link.

Now you'll be presented a table of all the various satellites that Heavens Above is tracking. I usually find the satellites I'm interested in working, then look over at the "maximum elevation" - this is how high in the sky the "bird" will get. Generally the higher the pass, the better chance of hitting the satellite you'll have. If all you're using is a vertical, 45-degree passes will give you a good shot. But anything greater than 30-degrees should be doable.

Continue reading...

tags: satellite ham radio intro howto

( Comments : 2 | Full article )

 
Morse Code: A Brief History
radio : by Tommy - October 18th 2010, 10:12PM
radio
Most people know the important life-saving phrase Di-di-dit da-da-dah di-di-dit (SOS), but that's about it when it comes to Morse Code. Many people know that Morse Code was named after its inventor, Samuel Morse but not much more. Fewer people know that the use of Morse Code still persists (unless, of course, you know someone that uses it on a semi-regular basis!).

Morse Code is the oldest form of telecommunication still in use. It got its start when the legendary Samuel F. B. Morse, an artist by trade, began to experiment with methods to communicate via the relatively new field of electricity. Morse's system of communication was not the first form of telegraphy, nor was his invention the only electric telegraph. But he did invent a language of dits and dahs that, by way of a few revisions, remains in use to this day. (The history of the telegraph, interesting in its own right, is beyond the scope of this outline.)

Ham radio operators are perhaps the most notorious users of this antiquated form of communication, but not the only users. Navy signalmen use Morse Code when manning the Signal Lamp and aviators make use of the Code as a way of identifying directional beacons.

Morse Code has undergone few revisions since its inception. Morse's original code was a bit cumbersome, but the idea was there and several letters have remained unchanged. Morse originally planned the letters to leave imprints on a printed tape, but over time the code was learned by operators and the incoming signal was able to be decoded by ear rather than on paper. In order to speed up transmission, Morse gave the most frequently used letters the shortest signals. (E gets a single ‘dit’ and T gets a single ‘dah’) Identifying the most frequently used letters, Morse counted letters in a copy of the newspaper.

Continue reading...

tags: morse code ham radio cw

( Comments : 2 | Full article )

 
mod_rewrite: URL modification
programming : by Corey - October 2nd 2010, 07:22AM
programming
To say that there is extensive documentation on Apache and its various plugins, including mod_rewrite, is to grossly understate the term. Documentation is voluminous to the point of beginning to wonder if the various authors had a combined total of more than five dates with actual girls in the history of their lives.

Disgruntled, then, was I to discover that on the entirety of the Internet, there was no documentation surrounding what I needed to accomplish. I've since come to realize that this is likely due to the obscurity of the issue or the availability of other commonly known tools to accomplish the task I had before me.

That task: Rewriting and redirecting a URL from my local environment using Apache and mod_rewrite.

Without delving into specifics, I needed to take an HTTP request generated by a page viewed in my browser and direct that request to another location, including a change of domain.

Now, the more seasoned among you may resolve that the very purpose of mod_alias is to perform this task. However, just because I'm a glutton for punishment, in this particular case, I also need to change the value of a query string parameter in the URL having its domain changed. Gaze upon the domain of mod_rewrite, ye mighty, and despair.

While mod_alias is designed to handle the translation of domains, mod_rewrite is designed to handle that and query string parameters (as well as a bunch of other stuff that I have no idea about). Before we can start directing URLs to and fro, we must first setup Apache.

I'll not regale the reader with the riveting tale of that process as it is rather well (and usefully) documented. The mod_rewrite module must be included in httpd.conf and the Apache instance must be configured to run as 127.0.0.1 on port 80. Do be wary of configuring the server value as localhost because sometimes the value does not translate, especially in Windows.

Continue reading...

tags: Apache mod_rewrite URL modification redirection cake pie howto

( Comments : 1 | Full article )

 
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