In March of 2010, programmer Eric Fry discovered a cheap digital tuner from Realtek could be modified to receive more than mere TV and FM Radio. Much more. [more inside]
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), not content with questioning Muslim loyalty, has introduced HR 607, the "Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011," to take away HAM radio from amateur operators, and sell it to he highest commercial bidder in order to fund some kind of separate internet for cops.
Amateur radio gets stick for being home to a lot of reactionary weird old buffers. How true. Many are put off by this. And that's a crying shame... [more inside]
I first heard of a 'Paraset' when I saw a message on the QRP-L reflector announcing an upcoming 'June 6th Paraset D-Day' activity. A search for more information soon revealed that the Paraset was a small vacuum-tube transmitter-receiver unit built during WWII in the UK at the Whaddon Hall headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service Communications Unit. Known officially as the 'Whaddon Mark VII', the units were either air-dropped by parachute or carried, by the jumpers themselves, into many of the occupied countries of western Europe. . .
1200 kilometers southwest of Acapulco lies the only atoll in the eastern Pacific: one of France's most isolated overseas possessions. First named for an English pirate/buccaneer/privateer, written about here by one John Harris in 1744, the island has changed hands numerous times: claimed by France as part of Tahiti, claimed by the US under the Guano Islands Act of 1856. The island remained uninhabited until 1906, when a British and Mexican mission began mining guano (still in demand today, though sources can now be found a little closer to home). The atoll was thought to have been polished off entirely by an earthquake rumored to have sunk the islands outright in August of 1909. [more inside]
The Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) was founded in 1914 to support amateur radio experimenters (hams) that the U.S. began licensing in 1912. The ARRL's 163k+ members refer to each other by strange codes, speak in arcane abbreviations, and do extremely cool things like talk to the space shuttle and international space station via ARISS/SAREX (in the news recently), do two-way EME (earth-moon-earth) communication, and ragchewing (chin wagging) with folks in other countries via commercial and homebrew equipment. And their handbook is a great reference for anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of electronics. Sounds like fun.