These items are an archive of past Topical Smorgasbord items that have appeared on the RF Cafe homepage. In keeping with the "cafe"
genre, these tidbits of information are truly a smorgasbord of topics. They all pertain to topics that are related to the general engineering
and science theme of RF Cafe. Note: There is also a huge collection of my 'Factoids' (aka 'Kirt's Cogitations') that might interest you as well.
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of my favorite old-time radio personalities, Paul Harvey, had a trademarked feature titled
The Rest of the Story. For those of you not familiar with the format, Mr. Harvey would begin
his story talking about particular life aspects of a person that, while remarkable, usually
had no connection with the person's eventual claim to fame. The listener's challenge was to
guess who the person was before it was revealed at the very end, followed by, "... now you
know --- the rest [emphasis] of the story." As far as I know the story of FM radio inventor
Edwin H. Armstrong
was never a subject, although it certainly met the criterion. I've already let the figurative
cat out of the bag, so you already know my subject ...
From May 9th through the 11th in the year of our Lord
1958, the very first "Jamboree
on the Air" (JOTA) was held by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The American Radio Relay
League (ARRL), in conjunction with the BSA, is promoting this year's 60th anniversary event
occurring from October 20-22. As you might imagine, quite a lot has changed over 59 years
in terms of equipment, but the basics in terms of encouraging and assisting the next generation
of licensed Hams remains as always the primary goal of organizers. The Boy Scouts, of course,
join in for the fun and learning experience. Jamboree on the Air events, held in October,
do not coincide with the National Scout Jamboree, held in July ...
Nikola Tesla was born in 1856 in Smiljan, Austrian Empire,
and died in 1943 in New York City. His life is so amply documented far and wide that regurgitating
the information in books and blog posts would be a waste. Most of what you find there is second-hand,
having gone through the filter of an author's preferences. I like to search for stories on
various topics in their original publications; e.g., scanned newspaper and magazine archives.
A hunt for early stories on Nikola Tesla turned up many 19th century examples from the Newspapers.com
website. It is interesting that back in the day, men like Nikola and Edison were referred
regularly to as "electricians." The oldest article I found on Nikola Tesla appeared in the
July 1, 1889 edition of The Pittsburgh Dispatch, titled "The Electric Fiend" ...
It's finally here - the
American Solar Eclipse of 2017! The amateur astronomy community has been anticipating
and preparing for the event for a couple years. Astronomy magazine dedicated the
entire August issue to providing detailed information on viewing suggestions along the entire
path. Traffic from the Pacific Coast of Oregon to the Atlantic Coast of South Carolina will
probably be a challenge as people vie for positions as close to the centerline as possible.
Those who manage optimal locations will see about 2 minutes and 40 seconds of total darkness.
Others within the 68-mile-wide path of totality will see from a fraction of a second up to
the full extent. According to a calculator on the Vox website, we will only see a 76.2% eclipse,
which will barely darken our skies ...
Hmmm.... let us see what made the front page of the
July 1, 1948 edition of Murray Hill, New Jersey's, The Madison Eagle newspaper: "Man Found
Dead, Wedged in Drain on Park Edge," "Lawyer Fined $50 on Zone Charge," and Sandra Dean Stevenson
had been born two weeks earlier. Oh, also included was "Invention
Replaces Vacuum Tube" and "Local Man Invents New Device in Electronics for Bell Lab; Could
Revolutionize Radio." Page 10 ran, "Bell Laboratory Releases Data on Newly Invented Transistor."
It is widely known that Drs. Brattain, Shockley, and Bardeen formerly announced on December
23, 1947, within the walls of Bell Labs ...
We have all been treated to a seemingly endless series
of headlines portending rising ocean levels and the ensuing drowning of costal cities due
to melting ice
in the polar regions. This phenomenon ostensibly is brought on by the exponential increase
in carbon emissions from developing third-world countries as well as established first-world
countries in the post World War II era ... or was it post Vietnam, or maybe post Gulf
War? The reference keeps changing, but it definitely began occurring since at least 1990,
right? There is a problem, though. In the early and mid 1970s climate scientists began warning
us of an approaching ...
For some inexplicable reason, it seems that of the
many articles I read dealing with antenna and feedline efficiencies, rarely is the
side of the equation addressed. Yes, transmit power is expensive and there is a legitimate
reason to reduce losses when converting power amplifier output to in-the-air power, especially
for DX operations. However, it doesn't do much good to launch the full permissible 1,500 watts
PEP and make a contact on the other side of the world if your system cannot receive a reply
because of the excessive line loss and/or mismatch loss between your antenna and your receiver.
Antennas and feedlines are reciprocal elements so if ...
Friends, former employees, and fellow lovers of all
things electronic, we are gathered here today to remember and honor our lifelong friend and
enabler of our hobby and passion,
Radio Shack - once
a Tandy company, as we are familiar with it. Radio Shack has lingered in failing health for
a decade, all the time keeping a brave face on its dwindling number of stores. Caretakers
attempted a variety of infusions and transplants in an attempt to save the American stalwart
electronics retailer. Alas, a confluence of poor management ...
For Mother's Day this year, the kids and I got Melanie
a 23andMe DNA testing kit. She has spent a fair amount of time over the years researching
the family lineage which, in case you care, traces back primarily to Germany and Switzerland.
Along with some of the online ancestry websites, she searched the U.S. Census database for
immigration and early American household information (number of people, ages, names, occupations,
etc.) The entire
form consisted of a single page seeking basic information on whether you own or rent, value
of the home, live on a farm or not, color or race, ...
Long-time RF Cafe visitor and occasional contributor
Gary Steinhour, KF6U, recently sent me a note saying he had acquired a very used
amateur radio transmitter and was in the process of restoring it. Gary's first transmitter
as a freshly minted Ham over 50 years ago was a DX-60, so this was an effort to satisfy a
nostalgic emotional attachment. The project is complete now, and boy does it look nice! Gary
provides a brief account here ...
If you have ever seen the result of a lightning strike
on electronic equipment, then you know how devastating it can be - often total destruction
that includes molten metal. Woe be unto any human operator who happens to be in contact with
it at the time of the strike. Unprotected antennas are begging for contact. Shortly after
leaving a company where I worked on a Tx/Rx system for a phased array weather radar I got
word that the indoor equipment rack took a major hit because the guy who maintained the site
forgot to reconnect a
system cable after moving it during ...