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Comment: Re:Work on the easy stuff first. (Score 5, Informative) 95

by drmpeg (#39108151) Attached to: Hackers In Space: Designing A Ground Station
What you don't know about ham radio could fill a swimming pool (I love that phrase). Hams have access to all kinds of frequencies that penetrate the ionosphere and have built and launched many satellites. The most interesting amateur satellites were OSCAR 10, 13 and 40. These were in high altitude (40,000 km) Molniya orbits that provided many hours of coverage. Two-axis tracking was required, but was so slow that it could be done by hand. The big problem with amateur radio is that commercial traffic is not allowed. That is, no connection to the internet.

Comment: Re:Fad. (Score 4, Insightful) 405

by drmpeg (#30351232) Attached to: Not All iPods — Vinyl and Turntables Gain Sales
The only cogent post so far. Having grown up with vinyl, it's just about the worst format for daily use (except for 8-track tape). Each play causes deterioration, not matter how expensive the turntable/cartridge. At the time, it was thought that the acceleration force of the needle often exceeded the elasticity of the vinyl. When CD came out in 1983 or so, I welcomed it with open arms. Although many of the early CD's sounded pretty bad, at least they sounded the same after each play.

Comment: Phone patch (Score 5, Interesting) 84

by drmpeg (#26233195) Attached to: White Christmas In Antarctica
Whenever I see something about McMurdo, it reminds me of when I was in high school (in the early seventies) and had bought my first shortwave radio. Back then, there were no satellite links to McMurdo, so a lot of traffic was done with amateur radio stations utilizing a device called a "phone patch". There was a net of amateur stations in the US, and when someone stationed at McMurdo wanted to talk to their family or other loved ones, the ham that was closest to the family in the US would call them on the telephone and then "patch" the telephone to his transmitter and receiver. The parties could then talk to each other, although the folks on the telephone side of the conversation had to remember that it was actually half-duplex. Mostly it was pretty mundane traffic, but every once in a while things would get hot and heavy and a session of phone sex would occur. The only difference was that everyone in the US (and any other area that had propagation) listening to that frequency (usually in the 7 MHz ham band) could hear all the details. It was thought that the new wives were not aware that their conversation was public since after all, they were just talking on the phone. And it was also thought that the husbands at McMurdo just didn't care (I don't think women were allowed to go to McMurdo at that time). Good stuff for a teenager long before the Internet, cell phones, cable TV and other diversions.

There are three kinds of people: men, women, and unix.