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Comment "Morse" code... (Score 1) 790

The International (Radio) version of the code is still very much with us. Tune your shortwave radio to just above 7.000 MHz with the BFO turned on and you'll hear lots of activity. It's still used by thousands of amateur radio operators. Now, strictly speaking, you won't hear SOS broadcasts because the marine radio service did away with it for commercial use several years ago. 500 KHz, AKA 600 meters, the distress frequency/wavelength is still monitored at times by some of the museum marine stations and some of the museum ships still check in on that calling frequency when there's an operating event.

Comment Sorta related... the teletype machine (Score 5, Interesting) 790

The sound of a teletype machine. I had a model 15 in my bedroom when I was in High School back in the 60s. It was connected to my shortwave ham radio rig. I used it to converse with other hams around the world. I could also tune in on Reuters news and weather bureau reports. Later, I worked as an Engineer at a radio station. A model 15 was how we got our news from the AP wire.

Comment This is just one reason why we don't fly any more. (Score 1) 819

Our last flight was on 9-10-2001 out of LaGuardia. We looked out our window and saw the trade towers the last full day that they stood. It's not that we think the technology of flying is dangerous, it's just the hassle and being treated like cattle that flying involves. My wife and I are both large people, genetically. Flying for us usually involved paying extra for first class or buying the middle seat.

Would I fly in an emergency? Yes, but for now we've decided that if we can't drive there, we don't need to go. I know others who have arrived at the same decision for the same reason.

Comment Just another reason not to fly..... (Score 2) 217

My wife and I last flew commercial on 9-10-2001 out of LGA, the day before 9-11. My wife and I decided, the next day that, short of an emergency situation, we were done flying commercial. If we couldn't drive to get there, we didn't need to go. It's not because we were afraid of terrorists, but we saw what a hassle and invasion of privacy it would became.

Comment I've worn a watch for almost 60 years... (Score 1) 427

I have a stainless steel self-winding Rolex Explorer that I bought for $157 in Gibraltar in November of 1969. I've had it serviced once. It still keeps very good time. It tells time in the 12 hour system. No day, no date, black face, high contrast very visible hands. It's a basic watch and it's exactly what I want in a watch. I don't think I need a "smart watch" to augment my smart phone. I will admit that I sometimes use a Plantronics Bluetooth headset with the smartphone, in part, to comply with our new laws regarding phone use while driving. That, so far, is the extent of my wearable technology.

Comment I am an adjunct instructor at a for-profi college. (Score 1) 538

which shall remain nameless. I have taught electronics in college two times in my 44 year professional career, working in industry the remainder of the time. Currently, I am teaching only one class per week in the evening. If I taught full time, my pay would be about one third of my pay in industry. That was why I left teaching after 3 years as a full time instructor in the 1980s. I had a family to support and could only make ends meet comfortably by taking on consulting work beyond my teaching. Now, I am nearing retirement and was approached by the Dean of the school out of the blue, so decided to give it a try. I have completed one quarter and got good reviews from the students, so am now starting my second quarter. I view it as something useful to do in retirement.

Comment Ah, all you youngsters,,, (Score 3, Informative) 153

I was born in 1946. My father had been an Air Corps radio operator during WWII. He died when I was very young, but left behind a Hallicrafters receiver and a few boxes of electronic "stuff" that my mom did not throw away. My grandfather was not in the military, but was interested in radio during the 20's, 30's and 40's. He repaired radios and built some of his own from parts. He died, also when I was very young and, like my dad, left behind boxes of intriguing "stuff". When I was 9 or 10, I commandeered the Hallicrafters S-38 and started listening to Shortwave.

In our little town, the library had very few books about electronics and what they had were very old. I read them all. I wanted to check out the 1944 ARRL handbook, but it wasn't there. Somebody else had it. The librarian said she knew who had it and that it was over-due so she called the person that had it and they bicycled down to the library to return it. It was one of the high school kids a few years older than me, but the son of one of my mom's best friends. We struck up a friendship that endures to this day. He became a ham, too.

The librarian said that her brother, in the next town, was a ham radio operator and would I like to talk to him. I got my mom to take me over to meet him and decided that I was going to be a ham, too. My mom helped me study for the FCC test and learned the code along with me so I could pass the code test. At age 11, I passed the test and was a ham radio operator. I built my own Heathkit DX-40 transmitter, strung up an antenna and was on my way. My mom got her license, too, but didn't upgrade it when it expired. The entry level novice license was not renewable.

I discovered that I liked to build my own equipment. I salvaged parts from TV repair shops and surplus stores. In high school, I built a 1,000 Watt amplifier and had my own surplus model 15 Teletype machine, operating digital modes in the early 1960s, way ahead of the Internet. All my gear then used tubes, of course.

When I was in college, I studied Electrical Engineering. I wrote my first computer program in Fortran IV in the Fall of 1964. I had my first computer at home around 1976 which was a Mostek F8 development board interfaced to a surplus TI Silent 700 printing terminal.

Throughout my Engineering career, I was mostly a hardware designer, but software eventually played an important part, too, as a designer of elevator control systems, Elevator in the vertical transportation sense, not grain elevators, although I also designed grain temperature monitoring systems for the grain type.

I'm in my late 60's now, still working part-time in engineering and teaching electronics at the college level. I still enjoy being a ham radio operator, too. It's been a good ride and it's not over yet.


Comment I'm a POTS fanboi... (Score 1) 449

We had a tornado in our neighborhood in 2006. Power was out for 7 days and cable was out for 10. Cell service ceased working reliably because the cell towers were out. POTS never hiccuped, even as the tornado was overhead. I still had access to dialup Internet so I could at least do email.

Both AT&T, my POTS provider and Comcast, our cable provider, keep bugging us to switch to VOIP. I keep saying "No" for reason of reliability. There's nothing quite like having a pair of copper wires back to a central office powered by a big battery. Yes, we do have phones that don't require line power to operate including one in the basement where we shelter in a severe weather situation.

Then there is my ham radio equipment which has battery backup.

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