Silver Linings

According to my logbook, it’s been a month since I last disturbed the aether. In fact, over the entire summer I’ve barely been active. First it was constant days and nights of thunder that kept the feed line disconnected. That was followed by what could be the worst month or two of HF propagation in the history of radio. Lousy conditions punctuated by a few sporadic openings that have made HF seem a lot more like Six meters than a DXers paradise.

Don’t expect conditions to improve much in September. Maybe after a few cooler, longer nights in October the low bands will begin to show some life. I still plan to install a new antenna that’s optimized for 80 meters as I believe that will become my primary HF destination for as far into the future as I can imagine. I’m a Maunder minimalist, convinced that the higher bands will continue to slowly lose efficacy until long after I’ve assumed room temperature.

The silver lining is 160 and 80. And let’s not forget how fortunate we are to have access to loads of VHF, UHF and higher spectrum. Optimism about plans for upcoming satellite projects is nearing apogee. Networks for D-STAR, DMR, and Fusion continue to expand. Meteor scatter and moonbounce will be unaffected.

Amateur radio is a big tent filled with things that keep us entertained. It also presents obstacles, and these often serve to provoke us into pioneering new and improved methods of radio communication. Solving problems is the only way we advance the radio art and if conditions occur that transform our most fertile spectrum into barren land for a season, we will adapt and thrive.

Except those unwillingly to make other arrangements — their days are numbered.

Saying Goodbye to Normal

If it’s Monday, it’s got to be Kunstler. And after the latest bout of market spasms that deleted a year of growth from my 401k in two days, I’ve been anxious to see what the Oracle has to say about it.

Hint; it’s not good.

“This endless hand-wringing over a measly quarter-point interest rate hike is like some quarrel among alchemists as to whether a quarter-degree rise in temperature might render a lump of clay into a gold nugget”.

Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing Press

Self-publishing has been around as long as writers have had disposable income to invest in the vanity press. The advent of electronic publishing, especially Amazon’s Kindle, has further stoked the desire to self-publish. Amanda Hocking, the first person to actually make millions of dollars from self-publishing — at the ripe old age of 27, has inspired hordes to jump onboard the digital wagon train to fortune and glory.

There are plenty of details available online if you’re itching to get your manuscript published via Kindle format. Same goes for iBooks, Google Books, and others. But if you simply want to publish your work for posterity’s sake, there is another option…

Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing Press offers its community of writers an outlet for sharing their work. Like all Project Gutenburg titles, books are offered to the public for free download. You won’t get paid for your efforts but your work will be digitally published, promoted, and archived in a ‘forever’ repository. It’s a terrific option for those who say they are only interested in making their work available to others — without a profit motive.

It’s also a good option if your intent is to someday make money from writing.

Having a collection of your work published online permits you to point others to your writing and that helps build an audience. And trust me, the work of a completely unknown author will largely go ignored, even when offered for the paltry sum of 99 cents in the Kindle store. Build an audience, get some buzz going for you via social media, and then take those first steps toward fortune and glory with Amazon.

And if you’ve no interest whatsoever in becoming a published author, there are tens of thousands of copyright free electronic books waiting for you to download from Project Gutenberg — this new self-publish service means that contemporary works are now included in that growing stockpile.

  1. Top 100 E-books on Project Gutenberg
  2. 8 tips and tricks to get the most of Project Gutenberg
  3. How to Get Free Books for Your Kindle at Project Gutenberg

Much ado about Apple TV

Apple has invited the faithful to gather on September 9th in San Francisco to get a look at what’s in the pipeline. New iPhones are a given but there’s much excitement and speculation about the new Apple TV.

First, that the new Apple TV, as has been reported previously by Buzzfeed, will feature an updated design and Apple’s A8 chip in a dual-core configuration. The more powerful chip will support an updated interface with much better effects and navigational improvements that make browsing through big content libraries — much easier.

Fritos in the Night

Two Fritos Cans ‘Chatting’

As you may recall, a few weeks ago I created a little Arduino-based prototype board that flashed the message “Hello World” in Morse code (see my column The Best Way to Store Morse Code in C).

Out of the Ozarks

The Four State QRP Group is making news again with their announcement of a fresh batch run of K8IQY’s popular SS40HT receiver and SS40TX companion transmitter. The combo may also be purchased at either web page, look near the bottom of the Paypal pull-down menu. Quantities are limited in this run, order soon if interested.

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The group also publishes a monthly newsletter, the Ozark QRP Banner, and the August 2015 edition includes a fantastic construction article on building a Copper Pipe Hentenna for 2 Meters that was written by Terry Fletcher, WA0ITP.

And while visiting the site, you might as well join the fun. Membership is free and operators are standing by to hand you your very own number!

Celebrating the Cubical Quad

Special event station N9Q (Quad) will operate from August 21 to August 29, 2015, 1430Z-2200Z Monday through Friday and 1200Z-2200Z Saturday from the facilities of SonSet Solutions in Elkhart, Indiana.

The operation will celebrate the 73rd anniversary of the invention and installation of the cubical quad antenna by Clarence Moore, HC1JB, at missionary shortwave station HCJB, Quito, Ecuador in 1942. Operating frequencies will be near 7.265, 14.265, 18.145, 21.365 MHz. No Sunday operation.