Easily Heard Signals

Dusting and Cleaning

Radeon 5450 PCIEAn update to the station computer has been completed. It is a Linux Ubuntu OS and is named "Sandbox". Linux asks for a computer name when first installed.

A new video card was added to the system. The onboard (built-in) video has been used since day one. It was and can do everything needed as far as a station computer. But I share the computer with my 8 year old granddaughter when she visits and she (and I) play Minecraft with it.

At first, about a year ago, it was doing fine. But something changed either in Minecraft or Ubuntu. Video was getting anoyingly "laggy" in the game. I figured it was time to go to a newer video source. An inexpensive (~$50) but decent video card was obtained and installed, Game play is now as expected. That's the new video card, dead center.

The dust within the machine was getting a bit much. So with the case open, I pulled all the cables and hauled the box out into the shop. there is a large shop air compressor there. That does the best job of clearing out all the dust bunnies that had taken up residence.

So now "Sandbox" is cleaner, faster and just "better".

Started looking at my Omni VII and determined the ham rig may be next for the D&C treatment. But it doesn't have fans pulling air (and dust) through the case.

The first step was to get a few cobwebs out of it's operational readyness. Having neglected real on-the-air operation for sometime, that needed to be fixed. Shame on me...

All the audio connections out of "Sandbox" that fed in and out of the Omni VII, were "pulled" so of course that had to be check out again. Fldigi is used for my digital modes. By just using the audio from the computer and switching to transmit with VOX works very well. No complex external keying necessary.

Making sure the latest version of Fldigi was installed, the Omni VII was fired up with PSK31 on 20 meters. 14.070.000. This was about mid day but there was one good signal from Wisconsin, AA0AW. The rig was left on on all day and I worked more stations as the conditions improved. It sure felt good to know everthing was in working order.

I even got the chance to do a little dusting and cleaning in the log book.

Key Ring Fob

DSC07114I have been working with 3D printing for about a month and burned through several kilos of the plastic filament that is used for the extrusion process.  The process is reviewed HERE in my Ramblin' Dan's Workshop so no need going into details here in the ham radio blog.

There are thousands of ready to print files available on the internet free for use in 3D printing. Also a lot that can be purchased. I take advantage of the free ones when they fit my needs or are just something interesting. What is really enjoyable is making my own 3D drawings from scratch.

Several 3D CAD programs are available here in my shack. The one I really like the best is called Rhinoceros or Rhino3D. Follow the link if you would like to know more about the software.

The call sign keyfob you see in the picture was designed in Rhino. Then exported as a 3D .stl (Standard Tessellation Language) file. STL is one of the poorest but simple 3D graphic formats and is widely used in 3D printing which is alkso called stereolithography. STL is pretty much the standard format in 3D printing but little else.

Of course designing something with my call sign was necessary. Look carefully (click to enlarge) and you will see the special feature under the call sign lettering.

The material used for this one is glow-in-the-dark PLA plastic. Rather ugly. A couple more in solid colors are in the works..


There is a problem with retirement. Too many irons in the fire. Before retirement I used to think of all the time there would be to do the enjoyable things. But then discovered the number of hours in a day haven't changed. Tthe speed at which they progress seems to have increased.

Of course the real problem is there as so many things that I really like to do. My brain may be able to multi-task but this aging body still operates in a single track mode. That means I have to switch tracks to run in a different direction.

Micro wave radio projects are piling up around me that need doing. The materials are on hand and there is a clear work path. Just have not dedicated the time.

My ideal plan is to not get frustrated. That is not something fun to deal with in retirement. Being the person in control, it's easy to recognise who is the source of the problem, It's me! I still enjoy the things that are not started. They are there waiting  for me, and that is far better than not having anything to look forward to doing.

Ah, it's just the way it is with life in the slow lane...