Thursday, May 31, 2007

Filter Board - Complete

This is good news, and bad news, in several ways. The good news is, that the filter board is done. If you've been keeping up with my progress, you know it has been a while since I finished soldering everything to the board, but it wasn't testing within the specs given by the manual. It turns out, that there was nothing wrong with it, I was just testing the wrong pins on the IC, I just didn't know how to count them. I was counting the pins as if they alternated, even & odd on each side of the IC, so when I thought I was touching pins 6 & 7, I was really touching pins 4 & 16. It is a good thing that I have experienced hams in the area who can help me out. I was finally frustrated enough to take the board to Neil's place (KC9BH) and have him help me take a look at it. After about 4 seconds, I realized my mistake. The good news is i got a lesson in soldering and desoldering while I was there, and he also let me borrow a better set of wire cutters so I could trim the component leads a little better.

The next step in the project, the front panel board. There is more bad news on this front though, for the next 5 weekends, I'm pretty busy. Company Picnic on June 3, Alex's Gymnastics Show on June 9, Frederick Amateur Radio Club Hamfest on June 17, Field Day on June 20, 20 & 22, and we'll be in WV from June 29 to Jul 4.

The final piece of good news, I'll never forget how to count the pins on an IC. That is what this project is about, learning something, and I certainly learned something yesterday.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Letter to The Anvil Restaurant

May 17, 2007

The Anvil Restaurant
1290 West Washington Street
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia 25425

Dear Anvil Restaurant Management,

I recently attended dinner with a large group at the Anvil Restaurant in Harpers Ferry and found the service to be less than satisfactory. My meal, a bowl of crab soup and the WV Trout was excellent, especially the trout, the sauce really made an ordinary fish fillet into an extraordinary dish. It did seem to take a while between my order and being served, but that didn't bother me much as I enjoyed the company of my group. The real trouble came when it was time to get my check. I had noticed that others in our group were getting their checks at 8:50, a short time after I finished my meal and realized that it was getting late. I did not get my check until 9:30, and wasn't able to leave until 9:35 when the waitress returned to take payment. I do not understand how it could take more than a minute to total up a sprite, bowl of soup, and an entree. Also disappointing was the waitresses failure to acknowledge and apologize for the long wait for the check as if it was the normal way business was done at the Anvil Restaurant.

I haven't decided if I will attend the Anvil Restaurant in the future, it seemed like a place where I would like to take my wife to dinner for just the two of us, and since the food was very good, I haven't put the Anvil on my list of Restaurants to avoid in the future. I don't think the experience would be the same for just my wife and I, but if it was, I would not return, and would advise those I know to avoid going as well. I understand that large groups can be difficult, but they are also often a chance to win new customers, because it may be the first visit for many in the group, as it was for me.



Monday, May 14, 2007

Caffeine Free

I've taken another break from caffeine, and well, I'm tired. It is 9:30 in the morning and I'm tired already. Since my drink of choice is Mountain Dew, every once in a while I like to prove to myself that I'm not addicted to caffeine, the last time was over 2 years ago. I don't drink Mountain Dew for its caffeine, I drink it because I like it. The side effect is that the caffeine creates a bit of a physical dependence that I could do without. I've had a few headaches and I've been more tired than normal, which will probably last about a week. I figure I'll stay caffeine free for about a month, for now, I'll drink a lot more water and other beverages that don't contain caffeine.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Filter Board - everything is soldered

Notice I didn't say it was done. When I was testing it, the results didn't match the manual. I'm not quite sure what it is, I'm hoping to get some hints from the mailing list. The good news is, I got a good picture of what the board is supposed to look like!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Slight Progress

I planned on doing more tonight, really, I did. But I did get something done, I wound the toroidal inductors "toroids". A lot of folks seemed to think this was hard, but it didn't seem so hard to me. I was a little worried, so I took a good closeup picture and sent it off to the Elecraft mailing list, I got a bunch of replies saying that they were just fine.

I meant to actually get these soldered to the filter board tonight, but I was distracted by a 10 meter opening. I didn't make a to many contacts, made a few of those almost contacts but the fading seemed to always happen when the other station gave his call sign.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

HD DVD AACS Encryption Key

No, the number isn't here. What I have to say is, why 16 bytes? I'm surprised it took this long to be broken, or, at least be broken and made public. It looks like the Advanced Access Content System License Authority has revoked the published key, so new HD DVDs won't be able to be used with it. Eventually, one of two things will happen, someone will figure out how to generage useable keys, or the AACS LA will run out of keys to revoke, it isn't like you can just download some new keys into your HD DVD player. Will older HD DVD players not be able to play new titles once they run out of keys?

For me, I like netflix, it is a cheap way to watch movies just about whenever you want, and a hell of a lot easier than downloading them.

Exchange Database Maintenance

Microsoft has come a long way with the Exchange databases, so long in fact, that under normal circumstances, all you really have to do is leave them alone, and they will work fine. My situation isn’t exactly normal. The organization is migrating from a system that was basically unlimited (until they decided to purge old mail because they ran out of space) to a controlled system. Of course, they don’t have to clean up before they are migrated, so, here comes the 6 gig mailboxes. Then they clean up. This along with a delay in deploying the last two servers (which caused many more users than expected added to the first two, then moved once the last two were up) caused us to end up with several databases with more white space than actual data. This is hard on the backups, since, it backs up the white space too, 466 gigabytes worth, and it is getting a little too close for comfort on available disk space on the drives in which the databases reside. So, I get to spend a weekend running defrag scripts. Fortunately, I have it automated enough that all I have to do is keep an eye on it to make sure nothing goes wrong, but, I still have to keep an eye on it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

New Aidan Pic

I put a new picture of Aidan in the title of the blog. I think I might have to work on it a little, zoom in a little more so you can actually see him. The file is only 100x100 pixels, which isn't much to work with, but I think I can make it a little better.

Filter Board Progress - 40 Meters

Tonight I finished up installing the relays that I started yesterday and moved on to the bag of parts that will make this radio work on the 40 meter band, 7 MHz. There were 13 capacitors to install, plus a 3 that I installed just after the relays. My soldering still looks good, but I think I need another tool to be more precise when clipping the leads.

I used the flash this time - I don't know what makes a better picture.

Top Row Pictures, I need a new Aidan Pic

I think I need a new picture of Aidan. I like that pic, but it is from over a year ago, and for kids that age, a year can make a huge difference.