2020-05-22 PIM Passive InterModulation Explained

Good article on passive intermodulation, AKA the Rusty Bolt Effect.


2020-05-19 Transistor Tester And Other Components

Here is a writeup from another radio enthusiast about his newly purchased Mega 328 uC based component tester. They come in handy for testing electrolytic capacitors especially for ESR – equivalent series resistance. The tester will also test silicon and germanium transistors, handy for making a judgment on how leaky it is. I have a couple of these testers, one in a clear case with the 9V battery for portable use. The other doesn’t have a case and I use a 6VDC AC adapter to power it. It complains that the battery is low, but it still regulates and says the supply voltage is 4.93 volts. This one was from 2015 and instead of the pushbutton it has a rotary switch with momentary contact when the shaft is pressed. A long press does something, I forgot what. More info about them in my blogs below. Here is his Antique Radio Forum post.

My blogs on the component testers:


2020-05-14 Low Quality LEDs From Small Vendors

from FB comment in Vintage Transistor Radios

Pablo E. Laredo
I used to buy LEDs from small vendors on eBay. I found that most of the 5mm LEDs that I got from the small vendors were seconds, the chip wasn’t centered so the beam was off center, or there were bubbles in the clear epoxy which caused a diffused beam. Both of these problems can be seen if not with the naked eye, with a small magnifying glass. I got a refund from a few vendors and I stopped buying them. Then I found the LEDs from vendors in China had very few problems.


2020-05-16 Renewables

The actual costs of the new NPPs (Vogtle in the US and Okiluoto in Finland) have gone far overbudget – tens of Billions of dollars, plus years of delays. It’s not antinukers, it’s huge cost overruns and delays that are preventing investors from building new NPPs. NPPs are not capable of competing against renewables. The land for wind turbines is not a problem – Iowa is getting a huge amount of wind power from turbines located on farm land. Offshore turbines need no land at all. And now they are designing floating solar panels to put on lakes and they are more efficient because the water keeps them cooler. And the solar panels lower evaporation losses. Win-win!


2020-05-10 Mail-in Ballots And Voter Fraud

The claim that mail-in ballots help voter fraud is a false pretense. The reason why people (mostly Republicans) don’t want states to allow mail-in ballots is because it makes it more difficult for low-income, disabled, minority and hourly workers to cast their ballots. It is an attempt by the mail-in opponents to tilt the playing field in their favor. In effect it’s denying the voting rights to a segment of the voters, a large percentage of them Republicans, but a higher percentage of whom might vote democratic ballots. The pretense of voter fraud is not valid because, for example, if allowing mail-in ballots increases voter fraud by X percent, the increase will be less than half of X% for democrats and less than half of X% for republicans. A very small part of the fraud might be other parties.

What everyone should be more concerned about is election fraud. This is where the election is compromised by unauthorized access to the election system causing the vote counts to be changed. This is far more damaging to the election than voter fraud, because it is so much easier to make a major change of hundreds or thousands of votes with almost no cost or effort.


2020-05-08 Complex Relationship — What Things Really Are

I’m reading ’The Gene’ by Siddharta Mukherjee, an excellent book about how we are made — what makes us. I read the following paragraphs and it occurred to me that people don’t understand the importance of this.


p.196 “The geneticist Antoine Danchin once used the parable of the Delphic boat to describe the process by which individual genes could produce the observed complexity of the natural world. In the proverbial story, the oracle at Delphi is asked to consider a boat on a river whose planks have begun to rot. As the wood decays, each plank is replaced, one by one — and after a decade, no plank is left from the original boat. Yet, the owner is convinced that it is the same boat. how can the boat be the same boat — the riddle runs — if every physical element of the original has been replaced?

The answer is that the “boat” is not made of planks but of the /relationship/ between planks. If you hammer a hundred strips of wood atop each other you get a wall; if you nail them side-to-side, you get a deck; only a particular configuration of plans, held together in a particular relationship, in a particular order, makes a boat.”


The whole is more that the sum of its parts. The importance of this cannot be overstated. We are more than the sum of our parts. We have a spirit which goes beyond our mortal being


2020-05-04 Windows Backwards Compatibility With MSDOS

This 8 min YouTube video talks about why you can’t name a file CON in Windows 10 but after the 4 minute point he talks about being backwards compatible with earlier versions of Windows and even MSDOS which had to be used with Windows 3 and earlier. He points out that Excel still has a date bug which was added to maintain compatibility with Lotus 123. This was not an unknown bug, it is still part of the specifications of Excel.

On Sunday, 2020 May 3 we had a Zoom meeting of our computer club Mobile Computing SIG. One of the members brought up the use of Microsoft Office and we discussed something about Word using .DOCX and .DOC files. He said the only thing he could find new in .DOCX files was that it supported XTML (like HTML). I pointed out that most computer users don’t use Microsoft Office, but he disagreed. Back to that later. I’m bringing this backwards compatibility issue up because I think it’s something that should be dealt with if the older versions had a known bug, then this should not be passed on to the newer version but it should be dealt with in a way that gives the user a choice of keeping the bug or not allowing the bug. The user should be prompted for a choice to keep or not allow the bug when the program reaches the bug. The program would not allow any further actions be taken without the decision. It could be a pop-up window or the calculations could be grayed out. However it’s done, the user should have the final say if he or she wants to keep or change the bug.


2020-05-03 Testing For Fake UV-C Sterilizing Lamps

There are lots of UV lights being advertised on social media that use LED lights and claim to sterilize the Corona Virus. These are not putting out UV-C light which is necessary for killing germs. This video shows that the LED lights put out no UV-C, but put out UV-A or UV-B. Beware, bbecause these fake lights are not killing the germs, and you can get CoViD19 after using a fake one!

If the reading goes down a lot when he puts in the glass, it means the light is putting out UV-C and the glass is blocking it. If the reading stays the same when he puts the glass in, there was no UV-C put out by the light, so the glass has nothing to block and the reading changes very little.


2020-05-01 UFO Detector And Sighting!

Photo from ?? Thanks, Mike Guerrucci.

This is a simple device. That means it’s just a buzzer and a battery. And it has a super sensitive magnetic switch. This detector is always open until it is disturbed by a magnetic field. They call it a magnetometer.

One way to make this is to use a compass. The compass needle is set to point so it’s between but doesn’t touch two wires. If the magnetic field is disturbed it will touch one or the other wire.
Easy peasy!

These are common in California. Why?
The seismologists use them along with tiltmeters and seismometers to detect changes in the earth to tell if an earthquake is eminent.

The circuit may use a relay that latches it on once it has triggered. The button on the front may be to reset it to stop buzzing.

If I would build this I would use a capacitive detector for detecting the needle movement. It could improve the sensitivity many times. When the needle moves the distance between plates changes and the capacitance change will cause the circuit to change. It could change frequency, or timing of an oscillator. Or it could change the balance of a bridge circuit, similar to a wheatstone bridge.


2020-04-30 Very Good Article On Hydrogen and Renewable Energy

Long article, I read part of it, maybe 1/3

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