My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

WSAR AM 1480

Heard a new AM station last night, WSAR transmitting 5 kW on 1480 kHz located 91 miles east of here in Fall River, Massachusetts. The signal varied between S-0 and S-5 while listening to the Red Sox pre-game show.

WSAR's transmitters are located between I-195 and Lee Cove on Mount Hope Bay, as shown in the accompanying photo (Source: Bing Maps).

WSAR is station number 163 in my AM log. Equipment used were a C. Crane CCRadio-SW receiver and C. Crane CC Twin Coil Ferrite antenna.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Scovill Manufacturing Company, Circa 1919

I just added this postcard to my collection. I have over 500 postcards from my hometown, Waterbury, but I have not added anything new in a long time because I already owned just about everything for sale that was reasonably priced. Suddenly, last week, this previously unknown (by me) Waterbury postcard showed up on eBay twice, being auctioned off by two different sellers --- go figure.

The postcard depicts the East End factory complex of one of the largest employers in Waterbury during the 20th Century. Postmarked 1919, the scene looks very different today. The left side of this scene is now the site of a shopping mall; interstate highway I-84 occupies the right side. The only parts of the complex that remain today are the smokestack front left and the building front center, which now serves as the Timexpo Timex Museum.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

ARRL Rewrites History

Compare the fifth paragraph of the September 16 ARRL News article regarding Wayne Green's death with the September 19 ARRL Letter article concerning Wayne's death.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Got Impedance

surfin' surfin655

Roger Eslick, K4RW, passed along this link to a collection of online impedance calculators brought to you courtesy of Montaro Networks, Inc.

Meanwhile, the latest issue of the Make: Newsletter has a must-read article for any maker out there who is considering funding a project via Kickstarter (or something similar): “Six Things About Kickstarting Your Hardware Idea That Will Drive you Insane” by Marie Staver and Jeremy Fryer-Biggs.

Here is another plug for TAPR’s Digital Communications Conference (DCC) coming up the weekend of September 20-22 in Seattle. It looks like another great DCC and I am sorry I will miss it.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Saving AM

Sunday’s The New York Times had an interesting article about an FCC commissioner’s quest to save AM broadcast radio.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Bridge by Radio


I discovered this unique postcard on eBay advertising “Bridge by Radio,” a radio program that urged listeners to “have your cards and players ready at the time scheduled so as to make each bid and play as broadcast and you will find the radio Bridge games played by experts most enjoyable and instructive.” My research indicates that the program aired in the late 1920s originating from Cincinnati’s WSAI and was sponsored by the U.S. Playing Card Company.

The flare in the photo obliterated the call signs of some of the other stations broadcasting the program, but I believe the obliterated call signs are WEAF (New York City), WWJ (Detroit), WSB (Atlanta) and partially obliterated KPRC (Houston).

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

DCC, Sept. 20-22

PSR123 Final preparations are being made for the 32nd Annual TAPR Digital Communications Conference (DCC) to be held on the weekend of September 20-22, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. Early Bird registration has been extended until midnight of Friday the 13th, so go here to sign up.

The following outlines the DCC schedule:

- Friday Day - Paper Presentations, Introductory Presentations, Demonstrations
- Friday Evening - Social (open to all, not just TAPR members)
- Saturday Day - Paper Presentations, Introductory Presentations, Demonstrations
- Saturday Afternoon - TAPR Annual Meeting Banquet,
- Saturday Evening - Banquet, Speaker, Awards, Prizes
- Sunday Morning - Android programming tutorial by Ron Frohne, KL7NA.

The Saturday evening banquet speaker is Tom Van Baak, whose speech is titled “Passion and Precision: Adventures of a Time Nut.”

The following is the list of submitted papers for the DCC. Most of the folks who have submitted papers will be presenting their papers in person at the DCC:

“(CAB) Controllable Altitude Balloon Proposal” by Pedro Converso, LU7ABF

“A Software Defined Radio for Mesh Networks” by John B. Stephensen, KD6OZH

“Applications and Infrastructure for Marathon Support” by Erik Westgard, NY9D

“DATV-Express – a Testing Report” by Art Towslee, WA8RMC and Ken Konechy W6HHC

“Evaluating OLSR and B.A.T.M.A.N over D-STAR” by John Ronan, EI7IG and Darren Long, GØHWW

“Gnuradio Companion module for openHPSDR Hermes / Metis SDR Radio” by Tom McDermott, N5EG

“High Performance BPSK31: Ideas for a New Generation” by John A. Gibbs, NN7F

“Modulation – Demodulation Software Radio” by Alex Schwarz, VE7DXW and Guy Roels, ON6MU

“Narrowband IP over Amateur Radio Networks (NIPARnets): Next-Generation Networking for Amateur Radio” by Timothy J. Salo, ABØDO

“Noise Power Ratio (NPR) Testing of HF Receivers” by Adam Farson, VA7OJ/AB4OJ

“Raspberry Pi Applications in Digital Communications: A Mobile Xastir-Based APRS Station” by John A. Hansen, W2FS

“Whitebox Handheld Software Radio Kit” by Chris Testa, KD2BMH

CU @ DCC !

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Surfin': Tackling Stacking

I do not have a fear of heights. In fact, I love the view from heights like the view from the top of buildings and mountains and airplanes, but I do have a fear of falling from heights.

A ladder collapsed under me once; I fell about five feet and broke two ribs. I don't want to think about falling from higher heights and that's why I don't like working on my 55-foot tower much. It telescopes down to about 20 feet, but that is still something to be wary of, so I pray for a future son-in-law who owns a bucket truck.

KB2HZI  doesn't need no stinkin' bucket truck. Lori Higgins builds Yagis and stacks them on the two towers at her contest station in New York's Catskill Mountains. The photo above is the view from the top of one of Lori's towers and this set of photos shows her working on the stack of her 60-foot tower without chipping a nail!

According to Ray Higgins, W2RE, who alerted me about Lori, "Not only does she do tower work, she runs marathons, bike rides 100 miles a week. Her full-time employment is a nurse. She works part-time for She also operates at multi-ops during ARRLDX and CQWW.

Until next time, keep on surfin'!

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Polish Eagle Show

Sophie and Victor Zembruski
All my grandparents were born in Poland. As a result, the Polish language was the first language in my parent's homes and when they married, they continued speaking Polish in their newlywed home.

When I came along two years later, they were still speaking Polish and as a result, Polish was my first language. English became my second language when television entered our home.

Just as the Polish language was spoken in my home, Polish music was heard on the radio in my home.

We often listened to Andy Szuberla on Saturdays broadcasting from WACE (730 kc) in Chicopee, Massachusetts and Stan Ozmak on WRYM (840 kc) in New Britain, Connecticut, who did his show live from the Polish National Home in Hartford on Sundays. But we religiously listened to the Victor and Sophie Zembruski's "The Polish Eagle Show" every Sunday morning broadcast from WATR (1320 kc) located two blocks from my home in Waterbury.

We were loyal to the Zembruski's radio show. Victor and Sophie Zembruski were distant relatives --- Victor's sister was married to my mother's brother, my Uncle Ray. Also, Victor and his Polka band played at my parent's wedding reception.

Victor started "The Polish Eagle Show" in 1934. Sophie joined Victor on the air soon after.

Victor had a stroke in the early 1960s, so Sophie did the show solo until her 90th birthday in 2008. Victor and Sophie's daughter, Laurie Hoxie, took over and continued spinning polkas from 8 to 10 AM every Sunday for the last five years.

Laurie decided to retire and she pulled the plug on the show yesterday after an amazing 79-year run!