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www.arrl.org www.eham.net


BPL demonstrated as interference source, trials end early

This story shows how one of the allegedly more 'helpful' power companies could not make BPL work without significant interference to amateur and other bands.

And, here's the Slashdot discussion thread with more facts, innuendo and mudslinging.


Blue Windshield of Death

Those wacky engineers at Toyota have evidently created an accellerator pedal replacement which drives Camrys into snowdrifts. That, and more car-computer horror stories, are documented at WIRED.

Daddy, can I have your '56 Bulgemobile for graduation?


Grid Square Conversion

Grid Square Conversion. Need we say more?


Test Pilot Earned His Paycheck

Burt Rutan, designer of SpaceShipOne, revealed multiple glitches in Monday's first private flight to space.
"As I came out of the atmosphere I no longer had any attitude control," (63-year old test pilot Mike) Melvill told reporters. "If that had happened earlier, I would never have made it and you all would be looking sad right now."


SpaceShipOne, GovernmentZero

Here's the best story by any observer of the SpaceShipOne first flight into space, today.

More coverage with video and photos here.

Here's the CNN story, too.

Wow. This project (financed by Paul Allen, co-founder of Micro$oft) makes up for every time I cursed M$ for Windows.


My new page at PalmSource

Here's my new page at PalmSource, the folks who write the Palm operating system for Palm and other PDAs and smartphones.

If you have ham content, devices or PalmOS software you would like Palm users to see, drop me a note at
johnbartley3 {at} yahoo {daht} com
or the usual address which follows from a callsign,
and I would be very happy to look into it.

I am especially interested in doing packet from a Palm, and have directed Minions to scour SeaPac for a PicoPacket. Anyone who can find me that or a ShineMicro Springboard packet module for the Handspring Visor, please e-mail me at the above address.



Do you create web pages?
If you don't and ain't gonna, move right along, nothing to see here, folks.

However, if you do, you face the problem of how to put your e-mail address on a page without it being harvested by bots, evil software programs which (among other things) crawl the web, look at web pages and harvest e-mail addresses (including yours) to sell to spammers.

There are two traditional methods to deal with this:

1. Mung your address by injecting spaces and substituting words for the tradtional punctuation,, e.g., johnbartley3 {at} yahoo {dot} com - which, unfortunately, does not give you a link whereby folks can easily click on your name and it appears in a Create an E-mail window of their e-mail client program.

2. Use the ASCII codes which correspond to the characters of your e-mail address, instead. Forex, the letter a is instead represented with a & # 9 7 ; (spaces between the characters added to keep Blogger's software from actually turning it into an a ).

However, the latter is a bit complex to convert easily, so I am pleased to direct you to the Obfuscationator which does all the fiddly bits for you. Kewl.


All Experts - got a question on PalmOS PDAs?

Just thought I'd mention I offer support through theAll Experts website for problems with, and questions about, PalmOS PDAs.


LA lawsuit filed vs ATT Wireless, T-Mobile for 'locking' cellphones

Class Action Lawsuit Filed in California Against Major US GSM Carriers for Subsidy Locks

If you have a cellphone, it was probably 'locked' to the cellular company which provides you service. T-Mobile will unlock phones on request after three months, and a few carries don't lock them in the first place, replying on their quality of service to keep you with the company (Verizon comes to mind, IIRC).

It's a little easier nowadays to change from one cell phone carrier to another, as a result of Number Portability (more info here). You can file with your new phone company to have your old number move to your new company (and this applies to wired phone companies as well, like if you decided to change from Qworst to Vonage for your phone service. A few small telcos are exempted; see this list.

That ease of changing is nicknamed 'churn', and it drives the cellular companies berzerk. It requires them to actually provide service to make you want to stay with them. So, US carriers (with Canadian carriers following suit) came up with the idea of the 'subsidy lock'.

Euros don't do subsidy locks, and their cellphones with the same features cost about the same (considering exchange rates). So, this is just another 'profit center' for US cellular carriers, and another hole in your pocket.

Well, now the same consumer activist group which sued NExtel over billing fraud has sued the top three US GSM carriers over 'subsidy locks'.

GSM (Global Systemé Mobilé) is the Euro standard for digital cellular, and technically, is very similar to both the iDEN system used by Nextel and the TDMA system used originally by ATT. Technical, yes, but not voodoo science like the black arts of CDMA used by Sprint, Qworst, and Verizon.

Over a billion GSM users world wide; so, you should be able to take your handset with you when you change carriers, right? Well, because the frequencies the US started with (around 850MHz and 1900MHz) were not available in Europe (900MHz and 1800MHz), you need to make sure the phone works on the frequency your new carrier uses; hence, 'dual-band', 'tri-band' and 'quad-band' phones.

But, the US carriers lock the phone so you can't take it with you to a new cellular carrier, even if you move overseas. The lawsuit is designed to stop the practice, so your phone is, well, your phone, to do with as you wish. Good idea.


Extending the Internet in emergency field operations

Start with a backpackable 802.11b/g relay station, suitable for providing Internet connectivity at disaster operations. Preferably, it's been upgraded with the Sveasoft optimized firmware for much better performance.

Draw a feed from Verilan via either 802.11 or 802.16 over a directional antenna, and voila! 802.11 coverage, wherever you need it, for WiFi phones, laptops and PDAs.

Having full Internet at a disaster site is getting to be extremely useful, and hams can make this happen better than anyone if we learn the lingo.

Of course, the Personal Telco Project is doing this right now in the core of the city, a Seattle City Councilcritter is looking at subsidizing it all over Pugetopolis, and there is much buzz at Slashdot on the subject.


Trunked radio frequency and talkgroup information

Here are several links to information on metro area government and business radio systems of interest to folks who like to listen to events as they happen (or, mostly, don't happen.)

Clackamas County trunking systems (registration required)

Multnomah County trunking systems (registration required)

Portland and area trunked scanner frequencies operated by Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications

Washington County trunking systems (registration required)

Washington County trunking system, supporting Clackamas County agencies

Search OR-WA-SFO trunked scanner information

Joe Scanner Home Page

NW Oregon Radio Information

NWSCAN Yahoo Group

Oregon Electronic Order of Battle

Radio Scanner WebRing

"Wise" soldiers sought

US Army wants "wise" G.I.s

..the Army would like to find leaders "who possess the wisdom to extend their expertise and values beyond service interests." But right now, it doesn't have an efficient way to find out who's wise and who's not.

Gee, why not just screen all recruits, and add their Wisdom score into their 201 file? I'm sure Hasbro could have someone at WOTC run down I-5 to Ft. Lewis and talk to a procurement officer for a screening system to run during induction, before boot.