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Over Easy: This and that and snow


Having escaped most of the hard core snow this year, we did get pretty dumped on in NE Ohio the last couple of days. And the Climate Prediction site says the cold we have been experiencing for the last month or so will continue continue for at least the next month or so. Had to go out shopping on Monday which was not something I wanted to do but saw that my downstairs neighbor had gotten her car stuck in the snow the snow plow heaved into our driveway.

With that and the snow from the last two days, it was not looking good. So I finally broke down and bought a small electric snow blower but it will not arrive until next week. After surveying the situation, I sighed and got the shovel out of the garage and began the chore of removing the snow.  After about 45 minutes of this decided I really needed to get the shopping out of the way and tried best I could to drive around her stuck car. I only JUST made it out on the road to get the shopping done and wondered if I would be able to make it back in. When I got home, tried to go in the way I came. No luck. Even with an all wheel drive SUV, I too became stuck in the junk and had to shovel my vehicle out. Parked on the street and took in my groceries, then came out and began clearing snow away from neighbor’s car.

Whilst doing this and a local fellow and his wife pulled up in their big 4X4 pick up truck with a plow on the front and snow blower in the back. I approached them and asked their intention. They were indeed just cruising for some business and lived just down the street a-ways. Asked what they charged. He said it depends on what I needed done and I said the driveway would be good. He named a price, which considering the situation and temperature seemed more than reasonable. [Remembering charging more that that to mow a lawn with a riding mower in Florida. Of course I had to provide my own liquid refreshment.] He then proceeded to pull my neighbor’s car out and with both of us waiting down the street a  bit in our cars, he commenced to clear my driveway of crystalline H2O.

To keep me busy and for a fun project I purchased an old Hammarlund [pdf] HQ129 shortwave receiver to add to my collection of “Boatanchers” . The HQ129X was the second in the series of HQ receivers that Hammarlund built. Nearly every major component in the receiver was manufactured by Hammarlund in their NY plant. Hammarlund also got a reputation for their variable capacitors and many millions were made for the military during WWII. The top of the line receivers were the Super Pro series that began with the Comet Pro. Then continued on with the SP 200, SP 400 and finally the SP 600. All of which are still around and considered very collectable. Hammarlund was noted also for a number of innovations as well, the Comet Pro being the first really commercial shortwave receiver. Hammarlund was also the first to use voltage regulation for the high voltage for the RF and Mixer stages and special metal alloys for the tuning capacitors to minimize frequency drift during and after warm up. In those days a VERY BIG DEAL. They also used a rotary turret band changing scheme in both the  SP 600 and PRO 310 to minimize the lead length between the tuning coils and capacitor, which made the tuning and operation in general more linear and reliable.

From the late 1950s on though Hammarlund kind of went down hill and was sold to a number of different companies. That and that they did not really enter the Small Transceiver market which began to boom with the advent of Single Sideband transmission taking over from AM, with smaller light weight units being preferred over the big heavy separate receivers and transmitters. This being responsible for Hammarlund’s demise. Their capacitor division being sold to Cardwell capacitor.

The Hammarlund receivers made from the late 1950s on always seemed a bit cheesy compared to the older units to me.

And speaking of innovation, it seems as though this is no longer the province of the corporate world. Indeed it has not been for quite a while. If it were not for the early geeks fooling with surplus micro processors in the late 1970s and 1980, we might not have the home PC like we do today. And it was a few Ham radio operators fooling with Digital Signal Processing that has lead the way to Software Defined Radio, where instead of mucking about with the radio signal in all those analogue circuits with coils and capacitors and what have you, they digitize the radio signals and do all the manipulation, signal selecting and demodulation [detecting] in the digital realm with DSP Chips, Microprocessors and Field Programmable Logic Arrays. Then convert the result to audio or what have you.

Also something to think on are quadracopters or drones. A FB friend who does mostly computer and network security analysis and research is also interested in these “drones”, mostly used for aerial video and photography posted a link to a video that shows one enterprising individual had attached Roman candles to one.  I wondered on a comment when someone would actually attach a lethal and accurate weapon to one of these quadracopters. His reply was “That bus already left.”  And indeed he was correct and at least one in Russia has. You can bet your sweat bippy there are others out there doing this and more.

Me … I just thought these drones would be a great way to get a wire antenna up over a tree. Though I have not seen this done or a video of it, I’m sure some enterprising person has done this.

So if you were not awake yet, you should be now. Look…up in the sky. It’s bird, It’s a plane , it’s ………..

This is Over Easy so what what ever else is on your mind.


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