Tuesday, December 1, 2009

30 years working in the computer industry

On December 1st, 1979 I started my first computer job at "the computer store" (Yes, that was the name, and it was in all lowercase).  It was a Friday and I started after school that day and I was 16 years old at the time.  I was paid $2.90 per hour, and got a raise on January 1st, 1980 only because the minimum wage was increased to $3.15 per hour!  I didn't care about the pay.  I got to get up early on Saturday mornings to drive my Dads 1978 yellow Jeep Wagoneer to Cambridge and sell and test Apple II computers.  They cost $1495 and came with 16K (that's kilobytes, not megabytes).  Each additional 16K cost $180, and you needed 48K to run most software, unless you loaded programs from cassette.  The only program worth loading from cassette was SubLogics Flight Simulator.  It took 30 minutes to load, but I'll never forget the thrill of taking off and the even bigger thrill of landing the first time.  I sold a lot Apple II's because of Visicalc, which was the first spreadsheet program for a personal computer.  I also sold a lot games, space invaders being one of them.  My favorite game, written by Robert Clardy of Synergistic Software is "Wilderness Campaign".  It was one of the first adventure games with graphics, and I still play it to this day on an Apple II emulator, but I still have my Apple II and sometimes use it as well.  My current Apple is Macbook Pro that is light years ahead of an Apple II, but those sure were the good old days when the home computer industry was just starting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Homebrew 6m dipole by WA1KBE

Here’s some photos from a friend’s homebrew 6m dipole. Nice job Steve!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Caribbean Buddies off to St Lucia (J6) for 2010

Members of the Caribbean Buddies 2010 team will mount a DXpedition to St. Lucia (J6) February 2-10, 2010. Nine operators from eight states will have fixed operations from a cliff-top villa and portable operations from various points on the island using CW, SSB, and digital modes. The team consists of the following operators: Chris Drummond (W6HFP), Budd Drummond (W3FF), B. Scott Andersen (NE1RD), Dan Gagnon (WZ1P), Steve Galchutt (WG0AT), Mike Greenwood (KC4VG), Guy Hamblen (N7UN), Paul Van Dyke (KB9AVO), and Weymouth Walker (K8EAB). Licensing is not yet complete but each operator is expected to receive their owncall sign. QSL via LoTW, eQSL, or mail to operator's home call (SASE required).

See the DXpedition daily "journal" blog at http://caribbeanbuddies.blogspot.com or the 2010 Dxpedition website at http://sites.google.com/site/caribbeanbuddies/ for new announcements.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Emergency Broadband in a backpack

In the aftermath of a disaster, any connection to the outside world can be life-saving.

A BBC report interviewed Radio Amateur Mike Outmesguine KG6NHH on recent developments in emergency broadband communications

The BBC news item says that Mike Outmesguine, KG6NHH, has demonstrated an easy way to produce a "Network Relief Kit" - an ultra-portable method of connecting to the internet from almost any location in the world. The entire kit can be carried in a back-pack, and offers a fast enough connection to watch videos on YouTube.

In 2003-2004 the equipment cost some $40,000 but these days the whole kit, including the solar panel, is down to around $3,000.

The system works by connecting to one of three satellites orbiting the earth to get an internet connection. The receiver can then be plugged in, using ethernet cables, to a standard router, VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone or similar devices.

Read the full BBC report at

BBC Digital Planet radio interview with Radio Amateur Mike Outmesguine KG6NHH

Radio Amateur Mike D. Outmesguine KG6NHH is president and founder of TransStellar, Inc., a successful technology services company with an emphasis on wireless mobility and energy information systems.

TransStellar, Inc.

Radio Amateurs have been pioneering the use of VoIP on HF, see

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Route 66 on the air

Talk to fellow hams on Route 66 from September 12th - 20th, 2009


Friday, August 7, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Unix turns 40

After four decades, the future of the operating system is clouded, but its legacy will endure. Click here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Biggest mobile antenna I've seen

Tonight at a local ice cream stand I met Martin, KC3RE who has quite an impressive antenna on his Land Rover. Martin uses it for moon bounce and runs 275W on 2m using CW. Needless to say, this was the most impressive mobile antenna I've ever seen!

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 7, 2009

How to accidently hack into your neighbors router

After reading this article, I can see how this could happen.  This is why you should always configure your router with a wired connection as soon as you take it out of the box!


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Near-fest this weekend!

This is the biggest Ham radio flea market in the area.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ubuntu 9.04 as slick as Windows 7, Mac OS X

In short, Ubuntu is now as slick and beautiful as Mac OS X or Windows 7.

Click here

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ellsbury Steals Home Red Sox vs. Yankees

With Joe Costiglione audio. As the NY Post said "An Ell of a play!"

Click here for the YouTube video.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

So long Pontiac

It looks like GM is going to kill Pontiac. If they are to survive, I feel they should close everything except Chevy and Cadillac.  If they focues on just these two brands, I'm willing to bet they could make quality products AND a profit!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Slot radio

This is a nice MP3 player that would make a great gift for someone that wants an easy to use MP3 player.

From the website:

"Introducing slotRadio - the instant load music player bundled with a 1,000 song slotRadio™ Mix card. No downloads, no PCs and no work involved. Simply pop the card in the player and enjoy a near-endless supply of full-length tracks."

Visit http://www.slotradio.org/ for more info

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How to afford anything

I don't agree with all of this, but it makes a very interesting read!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why we love film

Ken has a lot of good arguments as to why you may still want to use film!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ken Rockwell reviews the Olympus 35RC

This was my very first 35mm camera and I still have it.  I know film is on life support in these digital days, but I still enjoy my film cameras.

Monday, April 20, 2009

K1P was a great success!

My local radio club, PART of Westford, had a special event station this past weekend commemorating Patriots Day. Visit www.wb1gof.org for more info and photos of the event.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The World’s First Desktop Cloaking Device

I wouldn't use this at work, but it's a clever device!


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Armstrong's Invention of Noise-Suppressing FM

The IEEE Communications Magazine has a monthly series History of Communications
edited by Mischa Schwartz, professor emeritus of electrical engineering at
Columbia University. This month's issue is on Edwin Armstrong's
Invention of Noise-Suppressing FM. Armstrong is credited as the inventor of
wide-band FM and was awarded a patent for his invention on December 26, 1933.
That and other interesting information can be found in the four page article
which is available at

Friday, April 17, 2009

Not what I expected!

From "Britains Got Talent 2009":


Quite remarkable, IMO

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bondo gone bad

This is what happens when you have too much bondo and too much time on your hands!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Excel to ADIF

If you are looking for a helpful tool that you can use to take old manual logs and enter them into an Excel spreadsheet to have the data converted into an ADIF file for uploading to LOTW and/or eQSL, download it from:


Courtesy of Paul, W8TM - Enjoy!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Retro software

Old software starting at $1.00!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

PSK 31 flavors contest on 4/11/09

I hope to give this contest a try as it looks interesting.  It runs from 12PM till 6PM your local time and only on 20m.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The top 10 operating system stinkers

No surprise who is on top of the list!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rapidly Deployable QRP Station

Based on a Stanley Work Center from Lowes and a lap desk from a craft store. The key and PTT switch are wired to the mic connector on the head of the IC-703.

Invented by Greg, N4KGL


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Relatively easy solar panel

For about the cost of a 2m mobile rig, you too can add solar power to your shack.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Unix cat command

Here's proof that the Unix cat command was so named because it was done by a programmer and not your average end-user!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Solar minimum

How low can it go? The Sun is plunging into the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century.

  See the full story at: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/01apr_deepsolarminimum.htm?list1014869

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Click and Clack to Head Up GM Revival

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (CNN) -- In a surprise move, the GM Board of Directors has appointed two radio talk show hosts to head up the company's emergency restructuring. The new GM Product Czars are Tom and Ray Magliozzi, also known as "Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers," who host NPR's Car Talk radio show. Former GM fans from the 1950s and 1960s, they since went on to become harsh GM critics in recent decades.

Friday, March 27, 2009

This PC will never overheat!

I'd like to know what this sounds like!  And don't even think of keeping any papers on your desk!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Do you really need a college degree to get a programming job?

I found this to be an interesting article for people who would like to get into programming, yet don't have a college degree.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Guide to perfect soldering

This short & simple soldering guide that will show you how to be really good at soldering.  Once you master this skill, it's like riding a bike!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Web Site For Mobile Amateur Radio Operators

When you have a lot of free time, check out this very detailed website.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Very cool inauguration photo

If you play around with this you can zoom in to see some cool stuff!  Just click on the image and use the wheel on your mouse to zoom in and out, or use the slider control on the photo.




Monday, February 2, 2009

K5D - Desecheo Island 2009 starts on 2/12/09

Go here for more info on this upcoming DXpedition.

PSKFest 2009 Results

I made 23 QSO's and got a score of 414 in the Single operator Low Power category (< 50W).  Next year I may try QRP to see if I can equal or better my score.

Getting started with Logbook of the world (LOTW)

I hear a lot of people tell me that they would like to use LOTW, but when the look at the "Getting Started" guide, it looks daunting to them. I agree that when I first saw it, I too thought the same thing. I recently found this online guide that shows you how it is done step by step.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Vote for Cheryl and help make a donation to St. Jude's Hospital

She's entering a photography contest that will donate $20k to St. Jude's Hospital. If you have a minute please vote for her, and send this along to anyone else you think might be interested (and you can vote once each day).

The picture that comes up with this link is Cheryl's photo, so all you have to do is enter your email address and click the button.


Check out her website: www.cherylsteinhoffphotography.com