Fun Projects

Crowd Source Projects – We can make a difference

MPT TV showed a very interesting program,”Crowd & the Cloud” about people working together to improve all our lives through various projects,”like neighborhood mapping around the world, getting your experiment into Space, speeding up Alzheimer’s research.

Here is the link for the  MPT TV show “Crowd & the Cloud” on MPT: http://video.mpt.tv/show/crowd-cloud/

Also see CrowdandCloud.org

The Main Site For Projects You can join is: crowdandcloud.org/join-a-project
 Projects highlighted in Program:
    Help Speed up Alzheimer’s, Dimentia research: scistarter.com/project/1014-EyesOnALZ 
   Public Lab – Environmental Monitoring: https://scistarter.com/project/116-OpenStreetMap

  Space projects– talks about cubesat (small satellites we can        build): http://www.citizensinspace.org/

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Amateur Radio

 My 20 Meter Dipole Antenna

Amateur radio is a hobby that appeals to people of various interest, like those interested in electronics, local and international communications or making new friends.

You can get a Technician license to start or just go for the slightly more difficulty license, General, which is the one I have. To get a license, all you need to do is get a book on the license you want and look for a local amateur radio club to take the test.

The local club and also advise you where to get equipment and even sell used equipment at a good price.

Most of these clubs offer, free courses for the Technician and General licenses.

I use an old model radio transceiver I bought on eBay. Below is a photo of my radio. It’s a Heathkit SBA-1400 made over 20 years ago but still works great. You can join your local Amateur Radio Club and buy used equipment from them, that way you can be sure it will work and get great technical advice.

I tried various antenna designs, mostly home made to keep my cost down being relatively new to the hobby, not sure how much I would like it.

I finally bought a commercially made, 20M Dipole, shortened to make it easier to put up and take down, since I live in a community with rules against very large antennas,  I use the 20M band since I like to try to make contacts far from home and overseas. So far the wire dipole I made works best.

For my location a 20 meter, dipole has to be place on a pole that is about 12 ft, I am using a painter’s pole, so that it’s just below the tree line facing the open sky and not the community complex of buildings.

It’s at the same height as the wires I used as a dipole but its much sturdier and only about 15 ft. in length and easier to put up and take down. My community prohibits large antennas so being able put it up and down easily is a big plus.

I still don’t clear the top of my roof so I will look for a longer pole. Being at least close to the tree line and clear the roof of my house is essential to get any kind of Amateur radio reception in my area. I tried using 10 ft. and could barely make out one station.