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Bumper Stickers
neodux : by Tommy - June 29th 2009, 01:22AM
neodux
The wait is over. I know you've laid awake at night looking out your bedroom window at that first star of the night hoping and waiting for me to sell bumper stickers. Well, kids, your wait is over.

Neodux now has a bumper sticker so you can prove how purely awesome you are. For $3.00 $2.00, you can show that punk behind you at the red light or drive thru who's boss. You are. Because you know Tommy Gober.

Supply is kinda limited, so buy one. Or two. That guy in the parking garage that parked kinda funny could use a bumper sticker too. (who says bumper stickers have to go on bumpers?)

Click here to order

(...or use the link "stickers" at the top of the page)

tags: stickers neodux

( Comments : 2 | Full article )

 
Arduino Microcontroller
hardware : by Tommy - May 25th 2009, 01:15AM
hardware
The Arduino microcontroller platform is probably one of the coolest things to happen to microcontroller hobbying in a long, long time. I'd seen them featured on Hack-A-Day performing various silly jobs for their programmer, I just had never taken the time to look into why people were using them or what made them unique. Last week (at the urging of Bre Pettis) I bought the Arduino Duemilanove. Wow.

First of all, the Arduino is an open, "free" (as in beer) platform running atop the plentiful (and cheap) Atmel AVR microcontroller line. The open nature of the platform allows each revision of the platform and IDE to improve. The current 2009 model is very easy to use. The documentation is pretty good and (imo, best of all) it uses the C programming language. This rounds off the learning curve quite a bit since I have more than a couple years working with C-style programming languages. Now I don't have to fool with BASIC or assembly. I really disliked the patty-cake approach that the BASIC Stamp provided (i hate BASIC), it's easy to get bogged down in assembly, and most C-compilers for microcontrollers are well over $200. The BASIC Stamp pales in comparison to the Arduino in just about every category. The Arduino is cheaper, faster, offers libraries and has a much wider audience than the Parallax BASIC Stamp. The PIC and standard AVRs have a relatively steep learning curve and is easy to get buried in the syntax.

The Arduino abstracts quite a bit for you, freeing you up to be creative and rapidly develop whatever interests you.

What's interested me lately is parsing the WWVB atomic clock signal from Ft. Collins, Colorado. Thanks to a C-Max CMMR-6P receiver chip that I got from DigiKey, I have a data stream going right into my Arduino.

Continue reading...

tags: arduino microcontroller Atmel electronics

( Comments : 0 | Full article )

 
Elecraft KXAT1 Antenna Tuner
radio : by Tommy - April 19th 2009, 06:50PM
radio
I recently added the KXAT1 antenna tuner kit to my Elecraft KX1. The antenna tuner allows me to automatically tune up any non-resonant antenna quickly. Construction took one evening. As usual, winding the toroids was perhaps the most tedious part, but "zen-like" while I was doing them (as I heard it put by someone). I did have trouble with the transformer. It can be tricky and I'll warn other kit builders to check out this thread if they have trouble. I also found some pictures from a japanese ham helpful, but I've since lost them. :(

After building and installing the tuner, I purchased 40ft of some "silky" 26AWG wire from TheWireMan as suggested by Elecraft. I cut the wire to give me two lengths. One length is 24ft and the other 16ft. The 24ft length is my radiating element and the 16ft acts as my ground. The tuner quickly finds a nice 1.1-1.0 match and gives me full KX1 power out (~4W). It makes for a very lightweight, field-portable antenna. I can also use my crappie poles to elevate one end if trees are unavailable.

I use a BNC-to-binding post that I purchased at EPO in Houston. While at EPO, I also picked up a small 12V 1.3Ah gel cell battery. The UB-1213 is about 3.8" x 1.7" x 2" and provides adequate power for portable QRP work. If I was going to operate for very long, I may go with a little larger capacity gel cell, but for now this makes a very lightweight and super portable setup that allows me to get one the air quickly.

tags: ham_radio qrp kx1 kit

( Comments : 0 | Full article )

 
Elecraft KX1
radio : by Tommy - April 5th 2009, 06:27PM
radio
About two weeks ago I completed construction of my Elecraft KX1 ham radio kit (serial #2182). It wasn't the easiest build I've done, but definitely the most fun. The purchase was funded almost totally by referral bonuses from Dreamhost. When anyone signs up for an account with my referral link I get a kick-back. I had let the bonuses build up over time and eventually had enough to cover the radio, but I digress.

The KX1 is a "trail-friendly", portable CW ham transceiver. There's plenty of other sites that will give you more detailed information about this gem of a radio. I finally got to use mine yesterday for more than a couple of minutes and I must say I totally love it. The receiver is great, the noise floor is low, the filters are tight, and the features are really packed into this tiny radio.

My antenna was a random wire made from speaker wire with one end elevated to 20' using a BnM Black Widow 20' Crappie Pole purchased at Bass Pro Shop in Shreveport, LA. The antenna sloped down to my BLTPlus antenna tuner which tuned the random wire without any problem. I had the tuner hooked into the KX1 with a short piece of BNC cable.

In short order I was copying stations on 7.030Mhz (40m QRP) and trying to copy the faster stations lower down on the band. I had to tighten up the filters because of the sheer number of signals I was able to pull in. I wasn't able to raise any station due to my diminished transmit power. (I was running off of internal AA batteries because my gel cell hadn't been charged in quite some time.) I was also impatient due to the strong wind, fading daylight and biting insects.

Continue reading...

tags: qrp ham_radio kx1 kit

( Comments : 0 | Full article )

 
Texas' Best Barbecue
meat : by Tommy - January 14th 2009, 09:19PM
meat
What a great idea! or I wish I'd thought of that!
Neodux's own bpaugh has setup a Texas BBQ review site: www.texasbestbarbecue.com. (What an excellent marriage of BBQ and computers!) Visitors to the site can search others' reviews or post their own. I'm sure Brent will be adding more features to help you plot out your next BBQ-hopping road trip, but this one's definitely going in my Bookmarks list.

Register for a login and start posting reviews for your favorite BBQ joints. I've already commented on a couple of my favorites.

Grendel sez: I forgot I even had a "meat" category! How appropriate.

tags: BBQ friends links

( Comments : 2 | Full article )

 
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