In Answer to Some Questions


A former amateur investigative reporter who is now trying to work the religion page has asked several questions over the last day. Here is my answer:

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

UPDATE—If an intrepid religious report knew his stuff and he wanted to question the bona fides of someone serving as a treasurer of a religious fund, he would allude to John 12:4-6. Of course, that would require a working knowledge of his subject matter.

The Perseus Dark Matter Matter


Video Credit: NASA

Personal Note—I contributed to the design of the cryogenic temperature control system being used to cool the detector array in the Soft X-ray Spectrometer that will fly on Astro-H. The system is capable of holding the detector array at 0.05° above absolute zero with a stability better than ±0.000001°.

When an individual x-ray photon strikes one of the pixels in the SXS detector, the energy raises its temperature slightly which changes the resistance of the cell—the more energetic the photon, the greater the change. The low operating temperature and the tight regulation are necessary to make lower energy x-rays detectable and reduce system noise.

Field Day So Far


FD 2014-1The Carroll County Amateur Radio Club is operating a multi-transmitter Field Day site. We have two stations operating phone (ham talk for “voice”), one operating CW (ham talk for “Morse code”), one operating digital modes (ham talk for “text”), and one operating via amateur radio satellites.

The picture at the left shows Curt WB8YYY operating my low-powered CW rig. His left hand is adjusting the tuning knob. The laptop is used to log the contacts with other stations and to log the radio settings. His telegraph key is just out of the frame on the right.

Some years, the club goes all out to score the most points we can. This year, Field Day is laid back. At around 6:30 this evening, we stopped operating and had a picnic. It was a beautiful day to be outdoors.

Packing Up for Field Day


ArgonautVIMost years, I take a fairly extensive kit of equipment to our ham radio club’s Field Day site. This year, I’m taking a minimalist approach. Although U. S. amateur radio operators are allowed to operate with transmitter output power up to 1500 W in most cases and most Field Day operators use radio in the 100 W range, I’ll be using a 10 W rig and small portable antenna.

I enjoy the challenge of low-power operation. When propagation conditions are good, very little power is required to communicate around the world. I’ve talked with KC4AAA, the amateur radio station at Amundsen Scott Research Station at the South Pole using a transmitter power of 5 W.

I’ll be blogging some from the Field Day site, but non-ham-radio blogging is likely to be sparse this weekend.

73 de W3JJH

My Day


201406191002ZSomehow, I feel that those good wishes from the Cabin Boy™ are sarcasm, but I did have a good day working with the GOES-R Project today. Most of my time was spent mentoring an engineering co-op student who was laying out his first circuit board. Passing on such skills one-on-one is something I find very satisfying.

Not everyone working on the GOES-R program is aware the legal wrangling that takes up part of my spare time, but many of my colleagues read this blog or have heard stories told around the Keurig. Those stories have been the source of much head shaking and laughter.