Thursday, February 5, 2009

Technicians License - Finally

Yeah, yeah, I know... I have no excuse for not doing this long ago... Some of the guys at work were talking about some radio stuffs this week and I had to jump into the conversation all excited. I went home and decided I was going to quit being lazy and become a Ham. I called up the OARC and scheduled to take my technicians exam. I left work 30 minutes early yesterday to ensure that I would arrive on time. It was 36 questions all centered around electronics, radio and regulations. There were quite a few hams there and they had this really neat presentation on DSTARS. I look forward to having my operators license and getting involved in the community.

Speaking of community, I spent this evening over at a LMARS meeting. They had some high school students give a presentation on a robot they competed with. It was a pretty neat little bot that had to pick up hockey pucks from one location and drop them in another.

In other news, i've been doing more testing with my XTend-PKG modules. Below, you can see my base unit (top) and the portable unit (bottom).

I wanted to do some testing, except I can only be in one place at a time :-) I could have used the X-CTU but I didn't want to lug my laptop around. Soooo.... I wrote some quick code to send/receive the packets and test them for completeness. The code would validate the packets then it would text my phone the good/received reading every 2 seconds. For the record, I used C# for this code, so System.IO.Ports to the rescue! This way, all I had in the car with me was the portable unit and my cell phone (which I would have with me anyway). At 500mw, I was able to get just over a half mile out of it. That's with an apartment building in the way too, so it wasn't too shabby. I'll probably do some testing at UCF this weekend using the parking garage to place the base a bit higher up....

While putting together this blog, i've been shaking at my desk... not to mention my nose is cold to the touch. I just looked at my AccuWeather powered receiver and it's 38 degrees!

Well, I need to warm up... For now, i'm off to bed.

Oh, Call sign coming soon!

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