It's 1963. You're in a cold war with Russia. You want to keep up communication capabilities globally. Communication satellites haven't come into their own. The ionosphere is fickle and jammable. What do you do? You fire 480 million tiny copper wires into space to create an artificial dipole antenna belt around the earth. You call it Project West Ford
. It works. [more inside]
posted by cortex
on Aug 27, 2013 -
"That stainless steel band that runs around is the primary structural element of the phone. And there are these three slits in it. It turns out, this is part of some brilliant engineering which actually uses the stainless steel band as part of the antenna system... it's never been done before. And it's really cool engineering!"
Less than three weeks after Steve Jobs announced
the iPhone 4's (previously)
revolutionary signal-boosting design, the internet discovers a fatal flaw
that causes calls to drop when the bottom-left corner is touched. Jobs personally offered one customer a solution via email: "Just avoid holding it in that way."
Apple's marketing department apparently didn't get the memo
. [more inside]
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis
on Jun 25, 2010 -
It's no secret that amateur radio operators
, or hams, often build their own equipment. Especially with the aid of antenna tuners, most anything can be used as an antenna. One group of hams took this to the extreme, using ladders and shopping carts
as antennas as they started an annual competition that would eventually see trucks
, train tracks
, a tree
, and even a pair of exercise machines
and a football stadium
used. I stumbled across the site last night, and it turns out that this year's competition is this weekend
! Ham radio, by the way, no longer requires a Morse code
exam, just a set of questions on electrical and operations theory. Those curious can take practice tests
online, since the FCC releases the question pools.
posted by fogster
on May 22, 2008 -
Swan song for a great explorer.
Tomorow, the Galileo explorer will make a flyby of Jovian moon Amalthea
ending pehaps the geatest unmanned mission in NASA history. Galileo telemetry may not survive the flyby having already receieved much more radiation than it was designed for. Even if it does survive, this will be its final orbit scheduled to crash into Jupiter in September of next year. In spite of antenna difficulties, the spacecraft returned many beautiful images
of Jupiter's moons, along with coverage of the Shoemaker-Levy collision
and the first atmospheric probe to decend into Jupiter's weather.
posted by KirkJobSluder
on Nov 3, 2002 -
a project 25 media artists and activists, who converted a Soviet-era 32meter dish antenna in Irbene, in the forests of western Latvia, which also happens to be a top 5 most precise radiotelescopes in the world, into one of the coolest art projects ever. [via milov
posted by riffola
on Jan 11, 2002 -