Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bearing 92 degrees

Update 23-03-20009: The European gang landed safely to SYD. Tomorrow they will fly to Lord Howe. Let show begin! (Photo taken from their blog)

VK9LAgang ………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

This is the sort path to VK9LA from my QTH. I am speaking about the Lord Howe expedition that will take off next week.This island looks like a dreamy paradise on earth.lhiview

Although I have this entity already confirmed, I will try to work them in any possible band. The expedition seems to be very well organized and it has a great interest for Greek hams because of the participation of Vicky (SV2KBS). We ballspyramidwish good luck to all. They will make happy lots of amateurs they will work them as a new one. Propagation is very low of course but I hope that the good equipment they have got with them, it will resolve this issue. For more info and news take a look to their blog from time to time ( There are not pictures published yet but I found those to Google earth.The Ball’s pyramid, a nearby islet, is a really nature monument, 562m steep high above the ocean. So meet you all in the pileups!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

ITX: the new standard for tiny PCs

Strong enough but tiny and flexible. This the description of the new trend in desktop PC. I was very tempted to see the result. I was always attracted to small configurations. That is why I got The EeePC of ASUS. But this is an other thing: to build a small PC all yourself choosing parts and put it together. Dennis (SV8RV) showed me the way. We discussed a lot and I made up my mind. I chose the well known tiny ITX mobo of INTEL D945GCLF2. This little thing has the ATOM 330 CPU (dual core) already installed and audio and graphics subsystems as well. Important: serial port, parallel port, 6 USB ports and 1GBit Ethernet are included.


For the case I found attractive the proposition of MOREX 3310. Take a look how nice it looks. And also quite practical. It needs only 13.8V to work. This a voltage that is very popular to hams. All power supplies have it and our cars also.


All the voltages are produced from the internal power supply. No fun need. The total power does not exceed the 50W.morex310b

You have to attach a HDD drive of 2.5 inches and a RAM of one GB you and the PC is ready to service. As operating system is better to prefer windows XP or LINUX because are light and reliable. You can even boot from a sick USB whatever operating system you want. The result is really a beauty. Especially if you need a dedicated PC for digital operation that will perform perfectly without claiming a lot of space on your desk. Have in mind that it also perfect for portable operations and its cost just 200$.

Here is the toy finished, which I can not hide, I am proud of. You look its back next to my microphone for realizing size. Admire the connectivity plurality.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Illuminating meters

It is very common and it happens in every shack sooner or later: a meter gets dark unexpectedly. It is very annoying when it strikes. The good old ones lamps have a period of life. Unfortunately they can not work for ever. Usually their life is quite sorter than the equipment that the meter is embedded. No big deal you can say. Just change the bulb. It is obvious. We all do this from time to time. My friend Tasos (SV8YM) had an other idea instead: To use a bright LED in the place of a bulb. LEDs can give a cold light for many years without any sign of fatigue. But there is a small problem. Their light is focused because of the lens they have. You have to sand the led to eliminate this effect. You must destroy completely the lens and leave the LED with a rough surface in order to defuse more light. You must also add a resistor of 470 Ohm in order to reduce the voltage from 13.8V to what the LED usually  needs that is quite lower. DSC02705 The result is perfect and you have not to worry any more about it. Take a look. The upper meter is illuminated by a bulb and the lower by the LED!