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

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Dirty Lightning

Shortly after replacing the battery in my iPhone, I noticed that it did not always begin charging when I plugged in the lightning cable. I would have to reinsert the connector and/or wiggle the connector to begin the charge.

I figured that the lightning cable was going bad, so I ordered a new cable, but it did not make a difference. Charging was still intermittent, so I ordered another lightning cable, but the problem persisted.

Although charging was intermittent, the iPhone would get fully charged eventually, so I left well enough alone. But well enough got worse the last few days and I had to do something.

I used a flashlight to look in the connector to see if there was an obvious problem. Instead of bare metal, I could see various shades of grey matter inside the connector! It was full of dirt.

I took a straight pin and used it to clean the connector. I couldn’t believe all the crud I pulled out of there! I worked at it for about a half hour until I could only see bare metal inside.

I then plugged in the lightning cable and the iPhone began charging immediately without interruption.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Write for DCC

Technical papers are solicited for presentation at the ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference (DCC) and publication in the Conference Proceedings. Conference proceedings are published by the ARRL. Presentation at the conference (Detroit, Sept. 20-22) is not required for publication. Submission of papers are due by July 31, 2019. Full Details are here.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Write for PSR

The deadline for the next issue of TAPR's Packet Status Register (PSR) is July 31, 2019. Please send your cards, letters, articles, etc., whatever you have, to the PSR editor (WA1LOU) at


Thursday, July 11, 2019

Feeding Weather Underground Successfully

My HP ProBook is now feeding Weather Underground with data from my AcuRite weather station. AcuRite customer service provided the solution.

Getting a new Weather Underground Station ID solved the problem. Why? I don't know, but it worked.

Monday, July 8, 2019

50 Years Ago Today

It was 50 years ago today that the mailman delivered an envelope from the FCC addressed to me. In the envelope was my first Amateur Radio license, WN1LOU.

Back then, the number in your call sign indicated your location in one of the ten US call areas. The 1 in my callsign indicated that I was located in the First Call Area, which was comprised of the six New England states.

The N in the prefix of my call sign indicated that I had a Novice Class license.

Before I opened that envelope from the FCC, I knew that my call sign would have a W, as well as the N and 1 in its prefix. I had no idea what would be the contents of its suffix, so I was overjoyed that my call sign's suffix spelled a word: LOU. Too bad my name wasn’t “Lou,” but that did not matter because over the years, I am called "Lou" on the air about as often as I am called by my given first name and that's OK by me.

WN1LOU morphed into WA1LOU when I upgraded to a Technician Class license two years later.

When I got my Extra Class license, I had the option of getting a new 1 by 2 vanity call sign, but I stuck with WA1LOU while all my friends got new 1 by 2 call signs, but I could not blame them because the FCC blessed some of them with lousy 2 by 3 call signs from the get-go.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Friday, July 5, 2019

July 5 Coastal Tropo

Mid-morning coastal tropo and the NOAA radio station in Southard, New Jersey, was loud and clear, so I moseyed over to the FM band and logged a new station: WCAI on 90.1 MHz. Licensed at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, the WCAI 12.5 kW transmitter is actually located across Vineyard Sound on Martha's Vineyard, 121 miles from the WA1LOU receiving station, which was using an ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and ICOM AH-7000 discone antenna at the time.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Feeding Weather Underground

I own an AcuRite personal weather station (PWS) that has performed flawlessly. I run AcuRite PC Connect software on my MacBook Pro to feed my PWS data to Weather Underground via. USB connection between the PWS and the Mac.

About two-thirds of the time, I use the Mac away from the PWS, so the Mac is disconnected from the PWS and no data is fed to Weather Underground. I wanted to feed Weather Underground 24/7, so I shopped around for a computer that I could dedicate full time to that task. 

I purchased a refurbished HP ProBook 640-G1 14-inch Windows 10 laptop and it arrived here yesterday. I downloaded the Windows version of PC Connect, configured it the same as the Mac version, but I cannot get it to feed Weather Underground. The software is working OK otherwise, but nothing I tried gets it to feed Weather Underground. 

I am very frustrated. I plan to contact AcuRite customer support next week when they return from vacation. In the meantime, does anyone have any ideas about what could be wrong?

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Losing Two Meters

👎 Just got this bad news off the mojo wire from Hackaday:

A story that has been on the burner for a few weeks concerns a proposal that will be advanced to the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference 2023. It originates with French spectrum regulators and is reported to be at the behest of the Paris-based multinational defence contractor Thales. The sting in its tail is the proposed relegation of amateur radio to secondary status of the widely used two-meter band (144 MHz) to permit its usage by aircraft.

Read the rest of the story here.