Friday, August 26, 2011

Downloading programs over Ham Radio

Wanted to have this as a separate post. Someone on a digital radio mailing list posted this video from 1984:

It's a mostly alarmist piece about how piracy is destroying the software industry. It seems to be intact nearly 30 years later. In the last 30 seconds or so it includes a bit about Hams who are doing basically shared development of software by sending it back and forth over the radio. The software was stored on cassette tapes in this. The Ham at the end holds his microphone up to the tape player and hits play.

I wonder how long he had to sit there like that. Hah. Those things only ran at 1200baud I think. Maybe it was a really short program, just like 1 or 2k.

Icom 900A, etc

I was clued into these radios awhile back:
It's a very neat idea. Get a common control point and then buy swappable modules that cover the band you want. I know other radios did the same sort of thing internally: Kenwood TM 741/742/941/942, Yeasu 726R/736R, and a few others.

Kenwood even had a remote head RC-20 that would work with a bunch of their otherwise standalone mobiles. I think it worked from the X21 to the X41 series. IE TM-221, TM-241, etc. With the optional IF-20 accessory you could even hook up 4 different radios to it. You could attach radios for 2m/220/440/1.2 to it.

Neat concept, I'm sure it got expensive though. These systems were probably all phased out for single radios with everything in them. Makes me wish someone had settled on an open protocol for connecting external controls to these radios. Even make it industry wide, not just Ham Radio. Would it be against the rules to have a single control head and microphone that can switch between controlling 1 or more Ham Radios, a CB radio, GMRS, scanner, etc. Each radio could be type-certified for their task but controlled from one vantage point? I guess you would have to be careful to conduct yourself appropriate for the service you are using.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kenwood's new TM-281 2m radio


With exciting new features!
LCD backlight color now back to orange instead of green!
Hi Power boosted to an incredible 65W. That's a whole 5W more than the TM-271! Wow!

Throw that old junk away and buy today!
Only $164.95

Thursday, August 4, 2011

ARISSat-1 Finally Deployed from ISS

Just got the announcement from the ARRL about ARISSat. I've read the news before about it being deployed. The word is the NASA-tv feed showed it and that it was being handled rather roughly. I didn't see the stream, I wonder if anyone managed to screen capture that and post it somewhere like Youtube or Vimeo? I guess it's rather regrettable that the UHF antenna was forgotten/lost/broken. You would think after all the time it took to get it up there, they would be a little more conscientious with it. According to the ARRL bulletin, if they scrubbed the deployment, the next opportunity would be Feb 2012. Well, it's taken this long to get it up what's 6 more months? Especially since now the UHF component will never work? Then again, maybe it was basically a "now or never" decision, I doubt we'll ever know.

Well, on brighter news I heard a couple of seconds worth of SSTV from it last night. I haven't managed to find any tracking elements so I don't know where it is. I had my Kenwood 241A tuned to 145.950 and heard a few seconds of SSTV even though my antenna is a Ringo Ranger 2. Still want to try to find resources around here to make a WA5VJB cheap yagi sometime.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

SSTV images in video games

I'm very late to the parade on this one but I don't know if there's been enough attention paid to this. In March last year Valve Software updated one of their games, Portal, to have radios that would play Morse Code and SSTV signals when you carried them to specific spots in the game. They did this as part of an Alternate Reality Game that led to the announcement of the sequel game, Portal 2. They actually included 4 more SSTV images in the sequel. One can be received during the first play through of the game, and the other 3 are part of a developer's commentary. More info about the Portal ARG here.

To receive these images, you can use any computer software such as MMSSTV and point the soundcard input to StereoMix, or similar. It's even possible to receive off of the youtube video in the above link.