A comment that I receive frequently about my Digital Setting Circles project concerns the fact that it uses a serial port rather than a USB port. I guess manufacturers don’t typically include serial ports on notebook computers or PDAs anymore. In my own defense, USB was just coming into common use when I designed this circuit about ten years ago, and USB is more complicated and expensive to implement.

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The vast majority of my business transactions, over the web or otherwise, are carried out with no major problems. I’ve found that almost everyone I deal with is honest and up-front about their goods or services.

I recently came across an exception, though, when I decided to pay BatteryRefill.com to re-cell my two notebook computer batteries. It seemed like a decent deal–I could get both batteries re-celled with brand-new Li ion batteries for about a hundred bucks. That’s much less than a couple of replacement batteries would have cost. And they promised a turnaround of seven to ten business days, not including shipping times.

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We recently purchased a ’97 Pontiac Sunfire for one of the boys to drive, since their previous car (a ’91 Camry) met with its demise. This was definitely an upgrade–the Sunfire was in immaculate condition, while the Camry was a rolling bucket o’ bolts.

This was a good thing, since I’m the one who ended up driving it. The boy has yet to master the stick shift, so he’s driving my car (a newer, nicer car) while I’m driving the stick around town. Something’s wrong with this picture, but that’s a post for another day.

The Sunfire came with an aftermarket CD player installed–a Sony CDX-M630. I thought this was going to be a good thing, too–until I actually tried to use it.

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I have finally seen the day when my oldest child has left the nest and gone out in the world in search of his fortune.

Okay, he’s a high school teacher, so fortune might be a bit of a stretch. Nevertheless, he’s earning his own paycheck, paying his own bills, and putting his own food on the table. One of his parting gifts from me was the title to my 1994 Ford Escort. He’d been driving it around at college for the past four years anyway, so I certainly wasn’t going to miss it, and it had been a good car.

Of course, one of the first things to eat out of his initial paychecks was–you guessed it–car repairs. His front brakes needed to be done, and he needed new tires.

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My previous post triumphantly announced that my Linksys WUSB54G (v4) wireless USB adapter worked out-of-the-box with Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex and WPA encryption. Since then, I’ve been able to test my other Linksys adapters (WUSB54G v1 and WPC54G v2) to see if they, too, will work without any effort. The short answer is no. The slightly longer answer is that they both continue to work using ndiswrapper (see my previous posts for making the WUSB54G and WPC54G work using ndiswrapper).

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ARRL Presents New Membership Benefit”

That was the title of a news item appearing yesterday on the ARRL web page. At first glance, I figured it was just some kind of new equipment or identity-theft insurance.

Yawn.

Then I read the announcement. Boy, was I wrong!

The ARRL has placed all QST articles from 1915 to 2004 online, with free access for ARRL members.

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I already told you in a previous post about how much I like my Elecraft K1. I use it mostly in the field, when we backpack up a mountain or trail for an event like Field Day or one of the QRP field events held each year. The one drawback of the K1 is that having the controls on the front panel instead of the top makes it harder to use when you (and it) are sitting on the ground in the woods. Usually, I’d just find a rock or something to stick under it to prop up the front (and I can show you the scratches on the bottom of my K1 to prove it). Now, let it be known that Elecraft offers the KTS1 Wide Range Tilt Stand as a possible solution to this problem. And I’m sure that it’s a fine product. I was a little put off by the $35 price tag, though, so I finally decided to fashion a stand of my own.

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I really like my Elecraft K1 QRP rig. Mine’s the 4-band model (40, 30, 20, and 15 meters). I also have the KAT1 internal ATU and the K1BKLTKIT backlit display installed. It’s a great rig for QRP CW in the shack or in the pack. Mine is a staple of my Field Day excursions.

Typically, when I hit the trail with my K1, I pack a 2-AH gel cell to power it. Works great, but the gel cell is kinda heavy and bulky. So, in a moment of boredom (I had the itch to build something, I guess), I ordered the KBT1 internal battery option and installed it.

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