Ham Almost Cooks ‘Dog

For those of us licensed in other countries it comes as something of a surprise to find that American radio amateurs now have to run RF exposure calculations as part of their licence requirements. [Ham Radio Crash Course] as approached this in a unique fashion, by running around 800 watts of 6-metre power into a vertical antenna festooned with hotdogs. That’s right, this ham is trying to cook some ‘dawgs! Is his station producing dangerous levels of power that might cook passers-by?

Of course, aside from a barely-warmed line along where the ‘dogs were attached to the antenna there’s no heating to be found. But we think he’s trying to make the point in the video below the break about the relative pointlessness of applying RF field limits which are definitely relevant at much higher frequencies, to hams at low frequencies.

It leaves us curious as to how that 800 watts could be efficiently transferred into the sausages and really cook them. Strapping them to a vertical is we think the equivalent of strapping anything resistive to a conductor, they do not form a significant¬† enough part of the circuit. We think that even six metres could cook a sausage if it could be efficiently coupled into it, so we’d suggest putting a grounded sausage up the middle of a close-wound helix.

If you have any thoughts on the RF exposure calculations, or on the best way to cook a ‘dog with 6m, we’d love to hear the, in the comments. Meanwhile, this isn’t the first piece of ‘dog-based shenanigans we’ve brought you.

Continue reading “Ham Almost Cooks ‘Dog”

Heathkit’s New RF Meter: Who Is It For?

Electronic hackers and ham radio operators of a certain age have a soft spot for the Heathkit brand. Maybe that’s why we had a rush of nostalgia when we saw the Heathkit site had a new product. You may recall that Heathkit had gone the way of the dodo until a few years ago when the brand started to resurface. Their latest kit is a precision RF meter which is available on preorder.

Before there were websites and hacker spaces and all the modern push to “do it yourself,” Heathkit was teaching people electronics through kit building. Sure, they were known for ham radio and test equipment, but many people built stereos (hi-fi), TVs, radio control gear, computers, and even robots. All with manuals that are hard to imagine if you haven’t seen one. They were world-class.

Continue reading “Heathkit’s New RF Meter: Who Is It For?”

Christmas Lights And Ships In A Bottle

Thanksgiving was last week, and Christmas has been invading department stores for two or three months now, and that can only mean one thing: it’s time to kill a tree, set it up in your living room, and put a few hundred watts of lights on it. All those lights, though; it’s as if Christmas lights were specifically invented as fodder for standup comedians for two months out of the year. Why can’t someone invent¬†wireless¬†Christmas lights?

We don’t know if it’s been invented, but here’s a Kickstarter campaign that’s selling that same idea. It’s called Aura, and it’s exactly what it says on the tin: wireless Christmas lights, controllable with a smartphone. If it works, it’s a brilliant idea.

Continue reading “Christmas Lights And Ships In A Bottle”