Last night I copied SW Radiogram out of Pennsylvania on 9625kc and it was marginal to say the least. That station is always difficult to copy here in RI because it can sit just inside of normal HF single-hop distance. 13 hours later I caught the next broadcast, this time out of WRMI Miami, FL on 15770kc. That was a totally different story. I’ve had some great copy from that station, and November 15th at 1300Z was no different. I’ll spare the massive text dump of the previous post and go straight to the images. Clean, Clear and Vibrant.
Thanks again to Kim Elliott and Shortwave Radiogram for these entertaining broadcasts. Shortwave listening doesn’t have to be all AM voice and music. There is room for more modes and more voices. 73, N1QDQ
Posted onNovember 4, 2021|Comments Off on SW Radiogram under Very Poor Conditions
The earth’s atmosphere was impacted by a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) early on November 2, 2021. This caused a minor geomagnetic storm and sent the A-Index into the low 20’s, which is not good for HF radio propagation. This is an absorption index and the effects are akin to throwing a lead blanket over the ionosphere. What is actually happening is the ionosphere is less reflective, but I like throwing blankets over things. In practice there is a reduced chance of multi-hop propagation. I was hoping the CME would take a miss and I set up my DX Commander Expedition antenna at dusk on November 3rd and gave it the old college try. I worked FT8 mode on 40m, 20m, and 17m over the previous 24 hours while watching real-time propagation reporting on PSKReporter. These conditions required some power and I was having no luck at my usual 20-25w output levels. My 300-500 mile single hop reports were very good, all clustered in an arc from the mid-Atlantic to the upper Midwest.
Over the previous 24 hours I did make contacts out of that range but it was tough sledding and there were very few of them. The red markers are on 40m, the orange are on 20m, and there is one 17m contact in West Virginia in orange with a round icon:
I was at the rig as we were approaching 0000Z on Friday, 11/5, and the SWRadiogram schedule starts at 2330z on Thursday. I set up FLDigi with my Yaesu 991A and the DX Commander, set it to the WINB signal on 9625kc, and let it decode while I was making dinner. Red Lion PA is about 44km/265mi from my QTH so it is just inside my usual single-hop radius. I did listen to the signal as the broadcast started. signal was washed out and fading, and nothing like “armchair copy”. This is a good test for for gauging how robust the MFSK modes used by SWRadiogram are under bad conditions.
Surprisingly the test copy was not bad at all. I copied all images except for the third and seventh. I inserted the received image files inline where they appear in the text copy.
Here Goes, Warts and All:
Welcome to program 229 of Shortwave Radiogram.
I’m Kim Andrew Elliott in Arlington, Virginia USA.
Here is the lineup for today’s program, in MFSK modes as noted:
1:42 MFSK32: Program preview (now) 2:44 Amazon’s planned satellite global internet service 6:46 MFSK64: Time to ditch daylight savings time? 10:00 This week’s images 28:14 MFSK32: Closing announcements
Please send reception reports to firstname.lastname@example.org
Amazon to launch prototype satellites for global internet service
By David Szondy November 02, 2021
Amazon announced today that it is going ahead with Project Kuiper, its rival to SpaceX’s Starlink orbital global internet service, by launching a pair of prototype satellites into low-Earth orbit next year. Operating under an experimental license from the US Federal CommunicationÈwge0$ (FCC), KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 will test the communications and networking technology for the final satellite design.
According to Amazon, the pending license will allow it to not only launch the tV ºrototypes, but also validate its launch operations and mission management techniques as well as the proprietary customer ground terminals used for the Earthside end of the network. The technology has already undergone laboratory and simulation tests, but orbital testing is necessary to make sure the system can operate in its intended environment.
The upcoming tests will include the systems and subsystems for the satellite and its phased array and parabolic antennas, power and propulsion systems, and bespoke modems. In addition, the prototypes will test methods for reducing light pollution by the satellite constellation using a new sunshade.
The satellites are scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida atop RS1 rockets and the GS0 launch system built and operated by ABL Space Systems. The prototypes are designed to reduce space debris by actively deorbiting at the end of the mission so they burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Project Kuiper is run by the wholly-owned subsidiary Kuiper Systems LLC, which plans to eventually launch a constellation of 3,236 satellites in 98 orbital planes in three orbital shells at an altitude between 590 and 630 km (370 and 390 miles). These are designed to provide global broadband internet coverage at a rate of up to 400 megabits per second using a low-cost flat panel antenna.
“Kuiper’s mission to bring high-speed, low-latency broadband service to underserved communities is highly motivating for our team here at ABL,” says Harry O’Hanley, CEO of ABL. “Amazon will play a central role in the next generation of space infrastructure, and we’re proud to have been selected as their launch partner for these critical early flights.”
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Is it time to ditch daylight saving time?
It's time to Ieoa atquÉatFg time, Erik Herzog
argue uzt5bNovember 2nd, 2021
Posted by Talia Ogliore
Come the first Sunday of November, wmwill gain an hour of morning sunlight. The one-hour adjustment to the clock on the wall may not sound dramatic. But our biological clock begs to differ.
Take, for example, the members of society blissfully unaware of social time: our youngest children and pets. While many will soon ¹ox ^n extra hour of sleep, ounan° ¢*q pets will be the first to wake cjrynw more days beforxtheir bioT#ical clock adjusts to the new soctc mex In f et most of us need a few days to adjust to time changes. In the meantime, wtexo”ffer some consequences.
“Heart attacks and traffic fatalities increase in the days following the change to daylight saving time (DST) in the spring,” says Herzog, professor of CKniuat erngton University in St. Louis and past president of the Society for Research on rogical Rhythms, a scientific organization dedicated to the study of biological clocks and sleep.
Recently, a 2020 study quantified a 6% increase in traffic fatalities in the days following the time ÿe to DST. Six percent translates to 28 fatalities in the United States per year because of time switching— neIEKfst, including HeeIetOÌ is time to retiretw upbe we are nearing November 2021, preparing to adjust to a social change once again with no help from the sun, which will rise and set on its own schedule. What is holding us back from eliminating time changes?
Do we keep DST and enjoy more sunlight in the evening hours or standard time (ST) and wake up with the sun? We cannot seem toriVn“ee. ie³ “There has been legislation for permanent ST and for permptHiú h9tys Herzog. He advocates for keeping standard time. “There are currently 19 states considering 45 key pieces of legislation that would eliminate annual time switching. Some already have; Arizona a e.t1waii live on permanent ST.”
Saying goodbye to DST, and the summertime memories we associate with it, can be difficult. But Herzog reminds us that we need sun in the morning.
“Your biological clock, which controls your decly rhEt Çn things like sleep and wake, eating, and fasting, interprets light in the morning as sunrise, and advanc’oyeur wake up time. Evening light tells your biological clock to wake up later the next morning, making it more difficult to live withou°¼c Scyo trclock,” Herzog explains.
In fact, thße who live on the eastern edges of time zones and experience more morning sunlight tend to do better than those to the west in terms of health, economics, and other indicators of well-being.
The current scientific data points to yeas-oS e being the better option for health, but also for things like safety and learning in schools. Will children be safpgoing to school thelouSark in the morning? Does more sunlight in the evening deter crime?
Less than a month after Richard Nixon’s failed attempt to force year-round DST in 1974, leaders of public schools opposed the change after six deaths were directly linked to children going to school in darkness. Meanwhile, data do not show that there is less crime during DST or more crime in states like Arizona and Hawaii on permanent ST.
But Herzog points out that we need more data. In the emvw¿/m, the health benefits of permanent ST are clear. Ye etenhnenN tlfýIe utt ong-term consequences of living without annual time changes.
“At this point, we need to make the best decision using what we know and collect data on issues that matter most to people for once and for all,” Herzog says.
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I’m not a music journalist. Thank me later. I detest the trend of comparing every band to some other band. It’s lazy. It is shorthand. It lets the writer off the hook, bypassing the need for deep thought ot deep listening.
What I write is largely reviews of music I have purchased directly from the artist. I know some of these folks personally, but I pay for the music whether it is downloads, CDs, concert tickets, whatever. If I think a recording is off, I’ll say so, but if I don’t like it I probably won’t waste my time writing about it.
Same for photography, food, travel, and anything else. Life is too short.
Digital cameras have become ubiquitous, to the point where it is almost impossible to be somewhere out of reach of someone’s camera. It has reached the point where Panasonic has announced a cellular phone with a 1″ sensor camera (actually, a camera with a GSM chipset), replete with Zeiss optics. Whether that appeals to you or not it is a sign of the widespread commodification of technology that was only available in specialized camera gear just a few years ago.
With that backdrop it has become truly rare to see an advance that changes your mind about where the technology will be in two years from now. For me, that happened when I watched this video:
Nice video, yes. But it was shot on a Sony A7s mirrorless camera, with a full moon as its only light source. Yes, f/1.4 optics and dizzying ISO numbers are employed. The author states that the bulk of the video, apart from the opening two scenes were shot at 1/30th, f/1.4, ISO 12,800 (I’m assuming that 1/30th is based on 30fps video). That is “bonkers” as we say in my neck of the woods.
Sony release their own video showing a dawn campfire scene, with similar dropping of jaws:
“Bonkers” aside, it points to a benchmark for the next generation of sensors that will be in cameras like my Oly E-M10, and not just in a $2500 USD Sony body. Not that $2500 is astronomical money. You would spend much more on the pro offerings from Nikon or Canon, and the good folks at Leica will gladly take 8,000 Tricky Dick Fun Bucks in exchange for a bare M8 body. None of those cameras will do what the A7s does in this video. The implications of this kind of high-ISO performance: Setting Auto ISO with an upper limit of 12,800 and actually using it, not paying a brutal price in terms of noise and digital “grain”, and not needing a shutter speed that would make Edward Weston weak in the knees… That is where this video points.
And as nerdly as that idea is, it has real implications for those of us who shoot primarily in available light. I might shoot with flash once a year. Maybe not even once a year. So rarely, in fact, that I started practicing with a flash for no reason other than I didn’t want to completely forget how to use one. It has implications for me personally as I shake down my E-M10 and compare images to both the geyser of images on the internet taken with similar mirrorless systems, and my archive of images taken with my Nikon D300.
Every camera system is a web of trade-offs. Your parameters are physical size, resolution, focus speed, max shutter speed, low light performance and other dynamic range considerations, firmware/processing/raw specs, and overall ergonomics. I’m sure there are more but those are the big ones that come to mind. Accessory issues like lens selection, flash system, compatibility with legacy lenses… those also play a part. But if you shoot in low light and want to be able to use normal shutter speeds without suffering with noisy images, then you really care about dynamic range and noise, and as long as you get a few good lenses you can call it a day.
So there it is. Sony, the company known for horrible user interfaces, worse software, and even worse tech choices (minidisc, beta-max…) kicks sand in the face of the cool kids over at Nikon, Canon, and Leica. Sure, those guys all use some of Sony’s sensors. But they don’t have this kind of performance. I give them a huge amount of credit, maybe enough to put their camera on my wish list (I still have PTSD from some earlier Sony purchases).
I began to share my experiences with my Olympus OM-D E-M10 in two previousposts. The transitions from my Nikon APS-C gear has been a mixed bag. Technically it has been fairly easy. Artistically it has been more challenging.
My expectation was that the steepest part of the learning curve would be adapting my Nikon routine to a new system. And sure, the Olympus menu system is different, and in some ways more complicated/arcane. That turned out to be a one time thing. How often do you really rework your everyday settings? For me, not often. I now know the Olympus menus well enough to get what I need most of the time. I have been thrown off a few times but once you remember that all the time/bulb/comp modes are in the manual shutter settings it solves most of those problems too.
The real joyride has been artistic, with a side of camera capability. The photos from the Olympus have a different look. The exposure curve is different. It does not demand a maniacal devotion to underexposure the way the Nikon does. I don’t think I ever intentionally used a positive exposure compensation on the Nikon. That would be suicide in anything other than deep overcast conditions. You would be asking for a world of blown highlights.
Conversely the Olympus seems to have broader latitude, and a more accurate matrix metering system. There is a caveat: areas of high tone seem to block up without being clipped. If I am shooting an area of white, like clouds or sea foam, the image will lose detail in that bright zone.
Here is a photo of the steamboat Sabino. The image is not overexposed, but the chine of the hull is lacking detail. It doesn’t look awful, but it does lack depth. This would not have happened with my D300.
On the other hand, I took a few images at an indoor farm market, under mixed lighting, where I was not expecting much and the result is:
Beautifully saturated colors and crisp detail, without having to resort to much in the way of post-processing. That is the kind of image that has kept my D300 in the bag.
The difference between my two systems reminds me of the differences between color print films, or color transparency films. You liked Kodak, or Fuji. You probably did not like both. With DSLR you probably fall in with Nikon or Canon. I think of Nikon as Kodak and Canon as Fuji. You get more pop and saturation out of the Canon. You get a warmer, natural image out of the Nikon. If that is the case, then the Olympus is leaning more toward Canon. The images out of the camera look amazing. Sure, the M43 systems give up some resolution, and the images seem a little noisier. But the combination of the glass, sensor and firmware combines to generate some extremely pleasing images.
Speaking of glass, I sprung for a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens and it is very nice. Sure, the automatic focus can be glacial, and the manual focus control feels like a greasy zoom control. However, the images are very good, very flat (in terms of distortion) and the focus speed only becomes an issue in low light. In combination with the OM-D it is a lot like shooting with my old Oly 35SP rangefinder: light, fast, crisp, and easy. What it leaves me wanting is a real old-school manual focus control, and having the aperture on the lens barrel would be cool too. At least I know what I want out of my next fast prime.
A quick post with a pic of my latest bike mod. I have been in a quandary about my Specialized Tricross. It is a very nice bike with components I like, but it never fit me correctly. Not horribly small (56cm, vs a 59-61 which I really fit on), but a little undersized and the bars sat a little too low for an old fart like me. After an attempt to sell it, admittedly half-hearted, I decided to make some small but functional mods and see if it changed my mind.
Specialized Tricross “Gravel Grinder”
I actually saw my first “gravel grinder” reference after I finished the bike, but that matters not. It accurately describes the bike, though I would also accept “Suburban Assault Vehicle”. The only mods were swapping out the Crabon Composite fork for a Surly Cross-Check all-steel and beautiful unit, and swapping the stock wheels for a “niner” wheelset and 700×35 Conti CyclocrossPlus knobbies. All parts courtesy of eBay, and I had Berlin Bicycle perform the fork swap so I could rest easy about that phase. As it turned out I still needed to set up the headset tension, but not much else.
Ride Report: Yep, these tires are kinda draggy, and I have made a few tweaks to the fender setup to get the spacing right. Under hard acceleration there is the occasional rub of rubber on fender/brake, and I am not sure why. The good news is that it is a blast to ride, feels like it is on rails, and swallows up bad road surface like yours truly swallows up rum punches. That means, with alacrity. The Surly fork let me keep an uncut steerer, and that got me about an inch of stem height. My back and neck are very happy about that.
Final Analysis: Great mod, easy to execute, achieved desired result, and didn’t cost much. My Rivendell is still a better bike for my style of riding, and I could run these wheels as a second option with not much more than a brake adjustment. Which is pretty much where I am ending up. It is still a great bike, but I think I have to make a full-hearted attempt to find it a good home, and in stock trim with the original wheelset.
I have been taking photographs about as long as I have been playing music, which is a long time… about back to age 8 or 9. My father and grandfather were amateur photographers with a darkroom in the basement for black and white processing and printing. For my grandfather it goes back to the early days of photography, and the economic realities of the day. The day was, more specifically, the Great Depression. Photography was not inexpensive, but if you developed your own film and printed your own photos, you could do it on a budget. Later on, in the days after WWII, my father had more of a tolerance for the cost of commercial processing, but was still a rabid economizer. I learned film processing, use of a changing bag for loading tanks without a darkroom, and basic processing. That is not unrelated to my interest in both chemistry and cooking! It is all a matter of recipes and knowing what is actually going on in the process.
Music was a little different, but my dad had a few el-cheapo stringed instruments like a ukelele and a tenor guitar (Zim-Gar!!!). The tenor was my favorite. I was not tuning it in fifths (it was meant to be tuned like a tenor-banjo), but EADG, like a bass. When I got my first guitar, a nylon string folk guitar, I played that the same way… picking out bass lines on the low strings, chunking through some basic open chords, and baffled by the asymmetrical B string! One day a friend of my dad’s saw me playing and basically told him: “Paul, I hate to tell you this, but your son is a bass player.” That was that. By the time I was 13 I had a really awful Fender P copy (a Memphis… ugh), with a bad neck and worse electronics. I ripped the frets out of within a year and that was all she wrote. I have been playing bass since… over 34 years now, which is mind boggling.
Which is a long way of saying that music and photography are two constants in the way I approach the world.
As a result I always bring a camera to gigs, and if I am lucky I find a balance in time to perform music and time to capture images. At an event like the NHIC Verge-Fest back in April of 2011 I was in charge of running sound, and had plenty of time to concentrate on photography. At an event like Rochefort en Accords I had no balance. It was 95% music music music… and then the time for an occasional snapshot opportunity. The goal was purely that of capturing a few snaps as “souvenir”, in the true French meaning of “memory” or “memento”. I am glad I did, because I would not have the great image of Charly Doll stoking the charcoal grill with a hairdryer! …or the murky images from Charly’s bonfire, or the beer-tent party after the Friday rain-out at Rochefort, or the iPhone panorama of the school kids, or Nini Dogskin practicing the Saxhorn… and so many more. See the Flickr set HERE.
A Rochefort I was surrounded by a bevy of fantastic musicians, and it was all I could do to keep up. World class singers, songwriters, instrumentalists, and solo performers, all opening themselves up to what other musicians had to share. I also met a few people who were putting all their energies into making images. Christian Duchesnay and Olivier Longuet were the two I saw the most often. Chris was the official photographer of the festival, and Olivier was working for himself. Photography is different from music in many ways, but one difference that is central to this observation is that you have no idea what the photographer’s images will look like until you see them. I can tell a few things about musicians by their gear, their mode of dress, and maybe their “entourage”, before hearing them play. With a photographer you only see the person with a camera and think “nice camera” or “nice lenses” or something like that.
After I returned from Rochefort I saw some of the work of these photographers. I believe that I have yet to see ChrisD’s complete work from the festival, but I have seen a good selection of what Olivier was up to. Wow… the guy is very very good. He has a few images featuring yours-truly, but to be honest they are not the best of his images. I am flattered and also honored to be in the frame. The extra added bonus from Rochefort, as if I needed one, is that in addition to the influence of the great musicians I worked with, I have this influence on the photographic side. I will keep adding links as I find more stuff on the interwebs. Right now there are a lot of small collections on Facebook, but I am not linking to those here.
A High Dynamic Range (HDR) image taken at Misquamicut Beach this winter. HDR is a process where a range of exposures are combined to create an image with broader dynamic range than any one of the source images. Using Aperture Priority and exposure bracketing (changing apertures to alter the exposure will create perspective changes, so you fix the aperture and use varying shutter speeds). Many cameras have a bracketing feature. I’ve used the Canon G10 and Nikon D300 with success. Faster shot-to-shot speeds can make for better HDR because there will be less movement between shots, like the waves in this image. I might have avoided blowing out the sun area if I had gone with a 5-shot bracket, which might be -2, -1, 0 +1 and +2 stops. This was a 3-shot, -1, 0 and +1, and i often use exposure compensation to keep the 0 frame where I want it (no blowouts on either end of the histogram). This was handheld, and the HDR software (Photomatix) handled the alignment.
It has been about five years since I started making an effort to photograph the Ragged Mountain area as part of my usual hiking activity. Ragged has been one of my favorite places to hike and climb and decompress and whatnot for a long time. I started coming to Ragged as a kid, when my hiking and bicycling adventures led me beyond the Meriden Mountain ridge behind my house. That was over 30 years ago. I was about 13 when I rode my bike to the south levee at Wasel Reservoir, and I started hiking into the woods and up to the top of the Main Cliff at that time. By the time I was in high school I had been watching some technical climbing, and even got a chance to toprope a climb with a borrowed harness, with a climbing party that invited me to take a shot at something easy at the Small Cliff. While still in High School I met my good friend Harry White, who was a very active climber. With partners/belayers in short supply I was able to get in a lot of traprock routes, mostly at Ragged and the surrounding crags.
I picked up a lot of experience in rope handling, rigging belays, rapelling, self-belay techniques, and actual climbing… but for some reason I have very few photos from that period. At the time that I was climbing I was also taking a load of black and white photos, doing my own darkroom work, and basically nagging everyone for tips on darkroom and composition techniques. I had a small set of climbing photos in my collection of negatives, but I had a binder full of negs either stolen or discarded while I was at CCSU in the 80’s, and they were in there. I am still finding old sets of photos, and still hope that some kind of classic image from that period shows up. What I have now is about five years worth of digital images and I hope you find some of them interesting.
Over the course of 2010 I hope to post images from the month/season. I will also be making posts regarding the history of climbing at Ragged, my personal recollections and reflections on my experience there, and maybe the occasional “guest post”.