There are many ways to test HF antennas ranging from simulation to various antenna analyzers and bridges. However, nothing can replace simply using the antenna to see how it works. Just as — supposedly — the bumblebee can’t fly, but it does so anyway, it is possible to load up some bed springs and make contacts. But it used to be difficult — although fun — to gather a lot of empirical data about antenna performance. Now you can do it all with WSPR and [TechMinds] suggests a moderately-priced dedicated WSPR transmitter to do the job. You can see a video about the results of this technique below.
While WSPR is often cited as taking the fun out of ham radio, it is perfect for this application. Connect the transmitter and a few hours later, visit a web page and find out where you’ve been heard by an objective observer. If you had a few of these, you could even examine several antennas at similar times and conditions.
If you had the traditional engineering education, you’ve made your peace with calculus. If you haven’t, you may have learned it on your own, but for many people, calculus has a reputation for being super difficult. While some of the details can be very tricky, the core concepts are actually simple and [Mathologer] has a very simple explanation along with some good graphics that can help you get started on calculus mastery if you’ve been putting it off. Using a car on the highway as the prototypical example, he covers quite a bit of ground in the 30 minute video that you can see below.
Of course, this isn’t a unique idea that calculus is actually simple. The video credits the great book “Calculus Made Easy” that we’ve talked about before. That 100-year-old (and then some) book has a similar approach to the topic.
Meet [Tanner]. [Tanner] is a hacker who also appreciates the security of their home while they’re out of town. After doing some research about home security, they found that it doesn’t take much to keep a house from being broken into. It’s true that truly determined burglars might be more difficult to avoid. But, for the opportunistic types who don’t like having their appendages treated like a chew toy or their face on the local news, the steaks are lowered. All it might take is a security camera or two, or a big barking dog to send them on their way. Rather than running to the local animal shelter, [Tanner] used parts that were already sitting around to create a solution to the problem: A computer vision triggered virtual dog.
No matter the type of vehicle we drive, it has a battery. Those batteries wear out over time. Even high end EV’s have batteries with a finite life. But when your EV uses Lead Acid batteries, that life is measured on a much shorter scale. This is especially true when the EV is driven by a driver that takes up scarcely more space in their EV than a stuffed tiger toy! Thankfully, the little girl in question has a mechanic:
Facing challenges similar to that of actual road worthy passenger vehicles, [Brian] teamed up with [bitluni] to solve them. The 12 V SLA battery was being replaced with a 20 V Li-Ion pack from a power tool. A 3d printed adapter was enlisted to break out the power pins on the pack. The excessive voltage was handled with a DC-to-DC converter that, after a bit of tweaking, was putting out a solid 12 V.
What we love about the hack is that it’s one anybody can do, and it gives an inkling of what type of engineering goes into even larger projects. And be sure to watch the video to the end for the adorable and giggly results!
Like artificial intelligence, speech synthesis was one of those applications that promised to revolutionize computing in the 1980s, only to fizzle out after people realized that a robotic voice reading out predefined sentences was not actually that useful. Nevertheless, computer manufacturers didn’t want to miss out on the hype and speech synthesizers became a relatively common add-on for a typical home computer.
Those add-ons were usually built around a custom voice-synthesis chip. If that chip fails, you’re out of luck: many were made in limited quantities by small companies and are impossible to find today. So if you’ve got a Tandy TRS-80 Voice Synthesizer with a dodgy SC-01-A chip, you’ll definitely want to check out [Michael Wessel]’s Talker/80 project. It’s a plug-in module for the TRS-80 that’s software compatible with the original Voice Synthesizer, but built from modern components. Synthesis is still performed by a custom IC, but now it’s using the more common Epson S1V30120 text-to-speech chip.
The Talker/80 also has an ATmega644, which connects to the TRS-80’s expansion port on one side and to the Epson chip on the other. It can either emulate the original SC-01-A, in which case it expects text to be split into separate phonemes, or it can be set to an “advanced” mode in which it can directly process normal English text. In either case the voice sounds quite different from what original, although the new voice is arguably a little clearer.
The term “open source” can be tricky. For many people, it’s taken to mean that a particular piece of software is free and that they can do whatever they wish with it. But the reality is far more complex, and the actual rights you’re afforded as the user depend entirely on which license the developers chose to release their code under. Open source code can cost money, open source code can place limits on how you use it, and in some cases, open source code can even get you into trouble down the line.
Fedora turning their nose up at a software license wouldn’t normally be newsworthy. In fact, there’s a fairly long list of licenses that the project deems unacceptable for inclusion. The surprising part here is that CC0 was once an accepted license, and is just now being reclassified due to an evolving mindset within the larger free and open source (FOSS) community.
So what’s the problem with CC0 that’s convinced Fedora to distance themselves from it, and does this mean you shouldn’t be using the license for your own projects?
Join Hackaday Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Staff Writer Dan Maloney for their take on the hottest hacks in a hot, hot week. We found a bunch of unusual mechanisms this week, like an omnidirectional robot that’s not quite wheeled but not quite a walker either. Or, if you’d rather fly, there’s a UAV that’s basically a flying propeller. There’s danger afoot too, with news of a chess-playing robot with a nasty streak, a laser engraver that’ll probably blind you, and a high-voltage corona motor that actually does useful work. We’ll use our X-ray vision to take a deep dive into a 60-GHz phased array antenna, let a baby teach a machine what it means to be hungry, and build a couple of toy cameras just for funsies. Balloons as a UI? Maybe someday, thanks to ultrasonic levitation. And we’ll wrap things up by snooping in on the Webb telescope’s communications, as we find out how many people it takes to make wire harnesses. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot.
Check out the links below if you want to follow along, and as always, tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!