Ham Pi

Donated an old laptop to the Steam Centre here in St Thomas today, and mentioned that I was interested in looking at a distribution called “Ham Pi” by W3DJS Dave Slotter for the Raspberry Pi. I knew that the Steam Centre had done some work with the Raspberry Pi, and I first saw this distro mentioned in one of the videos on youtube by “Kevin Loughin” Ham Radio – HamPI, possibly the best general ham radio image for the raspberry pi.. When it was suggested that I could take one of the units home to play with, then I immediately accepted the offer. I was given a Raspberry Pi 3 model B, a display monitor, a mouse and keyboard. It was easy to set up and get running at home. Once that happened, I did have to get out to Walmart and pick up a 32 GB SD micro card, on which the Ham Pi distro was to be loaded. This has now been loaded and booted successfully. Now it is time to play with the new toy…


Note: Audio output from Pulseaudio is muted. Unmute this setting if you want to hear audio from youtube videos, etc.


SolderSmoke Podcast 147 is available for downloading:


October 29/30 2012
Hurricane Sandy on the way
Thanks for birthday wishes
Einstein — a very nice fellow with a bit of the Knack
Rocket project update
808 key chain cameras (thanks for the Amazon support!)
Audio output transformer for Barbados Barebones RX
Mighty Midget RX — breaking it, fixing it (with help from friends)
Freq counter connection to Tek scope
Halli S-38E — How to avoid electrocution?
The HQ-100’s anti-drift alarm clock
Book Review: “Instruments of Amplification” by H.P. Friedrichs (5 Soldering Irons!)
BANDSWEEP: 20 meter SSB via DC receiver on hurricane day
Report on outcome of the hurricane — inverter saves the day (really the night)
MAILBAG (a big one).

Dayton 2012

Dayton Hamvention logo

dayton 2011

Dayton Hamvention 2011

Going to Dayton 2012? Friends of mine are biking from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Dayton. These crazy guys are John VE3JC, Ken VE3ELA and Russ KB8U. Ric VE3RLX is the driver of the accompanying vehicle. Good luck guys and, if I get any pictures from them on their trip, I will post them.

Dayton Hamvention link

FDIM (Four Days In May) link

Radio Canada International going silent

RCI_logoRCI will bear the brunt of the 10 per cent funding cut to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation announced in the last federal budget. RCI is going off the air. The international service will no longer be heard on shortwave or satellite broadcasts. A budget cut of more than 80% at RCI will mean only limited service will be offered on the Internet in five languages: English, French, Spanish, Mandarin and Arabic. Russian and Portuguese services will be dropped. A total of 650 jobs will be lost at the CBC over the next three years and there will be changes in programming. To generate additional revenue, CBC plans to introduce advertising on its CBC Radio 2 and Espace Musique channels. CBC TV will also shut down 620 analog transmitters and cut its in-house documentary unit. Marc Montgomery discusses the changes with The Link’s producer, Levon Sevunts.



What a shame! What a loss!

Short Wave Listening


In existence for more than a quarter of a century, the Ontario DX Association promotes the hobby of short wave listening. On their website, there are monthly updates on various aspects of the hbby and they also have an active Yahoo group.

Dog Days of Summer

dog days of summer

A good way to pass the dog days of summer.. Thanks to Bob VE6RI for the picture.

73, Al

p.s. VE6RI Bob informs me that this op is K9DOG and clipping along at 25 wpm, not bad eh!

Universal Time

Suppose you want to schedule a contact with a ham in another part of the world, and you tell him to meet you on 14021 khz at 8 pm Thursday January 20th, 2011. Unless he is in the same time zone or in one close to yours, then he may have trouble figuring out what time you will be on the air calling him

Take a look at a chart of local times to get an idea of the problem he may face. If he is in Africa, then how does he figure out what you mean by 9 pm on Thursday night? The way to avoid this problem is use Coordinated Universal Time (abbreviated UTC). This is the time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time.

Time zones around the world can be expressed as positive or negative offsets from UTC as in this list; UTC replaced GMT as the basis for the main reference time scale or civil time in various regions on 1 January 1972.

I am in the Eastern Time zone in Canada, in winter, UTC = EST + 5 hours and in summer, UTC = DST + 4 hours. So for our contact, I would tell the other ham that I would meet him on 14021 khz at 0100 UTC Friday January 21st, 2011. We would not be confused about what time to meet and if conditions are right, then we would be able to complete the contact as scheduled.

Moral of the story… use UTC time for ham radio, not local time, it helps to avoid time confusion.

Ref: Current US Time

73, Al

Portable Operating Sites

All of these spots are southwest of St Thomas, Ontario, Canada, some quite near the Lake Erie shoreline. I start my trip to the sites from the corner of Highway 3 and Highway 4 west of St Thomas. I include a map showing how to get to each site and pictures from that site. Enjoy.

  1. Talbot Line to Iona Road, south to lake
  2. Talbot Line to Currie Road, south to Lakview
    right on Lakeview, go to Erie Road, go south to lake
  3. roadside park west of Wallacetown on #3,
    33 km from corner of #3/#4 in Talbotville
  4. E. M. Warwick Conservation Area
    off #3 west of Wallacetown on McKillop Road

site1_miniOne nice Sunday afternoon, I went out for a drive looking for portable operating sites close to Lake Erie, initially I headed west out of St Thomas. In the end, I found 4 of them. The first site is found at the end of Iona Road right down close to Lake Erie. From the starting point, proceed west on Hwy #3 to Iona Station, then turn left and go towards the lake.



site2_miniFrom the Iona Road site, go north on Iona Road, and turn left on Thomas Line, to County Road 16, then on to Currie Road, south to Lakeview and turn left on Erie Road. Drive right down to the lake, just before you get there, you will notice a laneway leading into a field on your left with tall tress for antenna supports to operate radio in. A great sheltered site not very far from Lake Erie.



site3_miniFrom the Erie Road site, go north on Erie Road, and turn left onto Lakeview Line, then right onto Coyne Road, go north to Hwy #3, turn left and proceed to the roadside park on your left. This is a neat little park and rest area, with portable toilets, and very many trees for shade on the side of the highway. Lots of trees for long antennas.



site4_miniFrom the Hwy #3 roadside park, proceed west on Hwy #3 to McKillop Road, turn left and go towards the lake. You will approach the EM Warwick Conservation Area, parking is straight ahead. An ideal operating position is a few meters away, walk towards the lake down the lane, past the picnic shelter and you will see an observation tower. This provides a nice operating position in good weather, in poor weather, the picnic shelter you just passed will provide shelter from the weather. Again, lots of trees for antenna supports.



73, Al

QR Code

From Wikipedia: “A QR Code is a matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by QR scanners, mobile phones with camera, and smartphones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

Common in Japan, where it was created by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. QR is the initialism of Quick Response, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.”

Someone posted a link on a qrp forum I follow this morning that pointed to a video about QR Codes. I have never seen them before, but they seem quite interesting. They are readable by mobile phones, I have not been able to find an online reader. Anyone know of one? Just want to try it out.

73, Al