FT8: Saving Ham Radio or Killing It?

It is popular to blame new technology for killing things. The Internet killed newspapers. Video killed the radio star. Is FT8, a new digital technology, poised to kill off ham radio? The community seems evenly divided. In an online poll, 52% of people responding says FT8 is damaging ham radio.  But ham operator [K5SDR] has an excellent blog post about how he thinks FT8 is going to save ham radio instead.

If you already have an opinion, you have probably already raced down to the comments to share your thoughts. I’ll be honest, I think what we are seeing is a transformation of ham radio and like most transformations, it is probably both killing parts of ham radio and saving others. But if you are still here, let’s talk a little bit about what’s going on in ham radio right now and how it relates to the FT8 question. Oddly enough, our story starts with the strange lack of sunspots that we’ve been experiencing lately. Continue reading “FT8: Saving Ham Radio or Killing It?”

Build your own GPS and GLONASS Receiver

[superlopez] sent in this detailed article (mirrored here and here) which describes how to build a GPS and GLONASS (the Russian version of GPS) receiver. The resulting device is gigantic compared to one of those tiny bluetooth USB GPS units, but the ability to build one’s own receiver is one of those post-apocalyptic skills I sure would like to have. The creator of the article [Matjaz Vidmar] aka [S53MV] also has pages on Packet-Radio (PKT) transceiver improvements (PKT gets my vote for the best post-apocalyptic technology, and the only believable technology featured in the Transformers movie), and a more sophisticated homemade frequency counter than the one featured earlier this summer.

In 2005 we featured a from-scratch GPS receiver as well, thought the project site seems to be down. If your GPS unit just needs a better antenna, check out [Will]’s how-to from last year.