Friday, August 19, 2011

Sorry it has been so long

Sometimes things come up, and I don't have time, other times things come up and I want to make time. This week was pretty exciting. It contained a few disappointments too, but overall, it was positive, and I feel the need to share.

Some of the tough stuff, to start with. I went to Minnesota to get my airplane. When I left it last fall, it was all signed off and ready to go. The prop needed torquing and a quick going over, and it was ready to fly. Things started out tough, and I kept wanting to quit, but people kept encouraging me, so I kept going. About 2:30 on Sunday, lined it up on the end of runway 10L, pushed the throttle forward, and it rolled and rolled and rolled. Finally at about 80kts, and most of the way down the runway, I gave up. The plane wouldn't rotate. It seemed to be running fine, but I couldn't get it off the ground. When I got back to the hangar, I found it wouldn't idle on the one mag. It shouldn't have taken that much runway, and it seemed to be down on power. Something to look into, but I needed to catch a plane at 4:30 if I was to get home for work on Monday, so I abandoned it for that trip. I'll give it another shot in a couple weeks.

I get some EE Times emails, and one this week had a new National Semiconductor 12bit A/D convertor that can do over 2G samples/second. Wow! talk about the perfect software defined radio (SDR) chip. That is amazing, and I am sure it will start appearing in some radios soon. Think about Nyquist theorem, it should allow hooking up to an antenna, and getting usable data up to almost 1GHz. No down convertors needed!
The app sheets National has on their page seem to reflect this also.

More good news on Hack-a-day, Heathkit is going to start building kits again! Their kits were top notch, and I certainly built my share of them. I still have a couple, and hope they maintain the quality. They are looking for ideas for kits to add. They are promising a wireless pool monitor as one of their first kits, and I hope it is good, since that is something I have considered building myself. Especially in the winter, going out and messing with the pool is a hassle.

Tonight, I went to MicroCenter, the closest place where I know I can get printer ink, and other PC accessories. I was able to get a Linux compatible USB WiFi device for my laptop. Asus makes it, I'll let you know if it works. I so much miss Linux at home. I have it at work but it is so crippled it is almost as bad as windows! While I was there, it appears they are setting up a little Maker Space with Make magazine, and various kits, including Arduino and various sensors and shields. The prices weren't bad either. Hack-a-day is saying Radio Shack is trying to be hobbyist friendly too.

We will just have to see what happens. Hopefully there will be some solid follow through, and Heathkit will be good, radio shack will be helpful, and the economy will pick up.