Forget about these new smartwatches that track bodily functions and give boring details that I don’t have any desire for. I just want an atomic digital wristwatch that keeps solid time and is accurate all of the time. It would be nice if it announced it upon being prompted. My atomic watch should give me UTC time.

This one looks nice: Casio Men’s WV58A-1AVCR Waveceptor Atomic Digital Watch.

I do not plan on diving anytime soon with a wristwatch on, but it’s nice to know that this watch would hold up to it. I can’t see taking a shower with the watch on either. Whatever.

I want accuracy all of the time. I want world time. I want a good looking watch. No time for mediocrity.

If the battery goes bad, I’ll get another one. If the band goes bad, I’ll get a Timex band. No problem.

Can I find a Solar Watch?

Just imagine all of the radio frequencies that surround us as we step into our backyards. What if there was a way to capture those signals and turn them into electricity? Some scientists have designed a new gadget that proposes to generate electricity from captured microwave signals. Allen Hawkes and Alexander Katko are those scientists. The Daily Mail published the full story.

I wonder if Nikola Tesla would have been privy to such knowledge. He touted the idea that electricity should be free.

The FIM-41, a field strength meter, is a device that measures the electric field that is transmitted from a source. This device is used in the television and radio industry.

The POTOMAC FIM-41 can be rented if you need one. Here is the operating instructions to go with that.

The Potomac FIM-4100 replaced the FIM-41. The price for a new one at the current time is $14,975.00. The frequency range is 520 kHz to 5.1 MHz.

The Heil PR40 Dynamic Microphone

1. Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone — The Heil PR 40 represents completely new dynamic microphone technology designed for a wide range of professional applications such as sophisticated recording, live sound, and commercial broadcast. Producing the widest frequency range available in a dynamic microphone, the PR 40 outperforms most condenser microphones, and can withstand huge amounts of SPL At the same time, it maintains the 25 year Heil Sound tradition of superbly natural voice articulation.

The dynamic microphone does not necessarily need a preamp, but most audiophiles do plug them into a mixer or preamp. If one is in a noisy environment, this situation would favor a dynamic mic.

To my ears, the Heil PR40 mic is brighter, crisper, and more articulate than the MXL 990 mic. The difference is significant enough to the seasoned listener. Some listeners may not notice a big difference in the sound.

The Heil PR40 looks great and is a very popular microphone. The Heil name is a professional standard and the microphones are noted for quality. I agree with the description. The articulation is superb.

The only item to examine is the price. The Heil PR40 is not overpriced. It is actually cheaper than most of its competitors. It is however more expensive than the MXL 990. This is to be weighed in with a person on a budget. And the shockmount doesn’t come with this mic.

Would I buy the Heil PR40 microphone? Yes. It sounds very nice and has body to it. It has a punch to it and this is its signature. It is popular in the broadcasting industry and podcasters adore it. Many amateur radio operators use this microphone.

Previously I thought the mic to be a bit muddy, but after hearing the mic for sometime now I’ve since changed my view. It’s just a bit hot, so the user would use precaution to limit breathing noises, plosives, etc. These sounds can be annoying. (Of course the condenser mics are well known for the same problem.)

The MXL 990 Condenser Microphone

2. MXL 990 Condenser Microphone with Shockmount — The MXL 990 Condenser Microphone with Shock Mount has a silky, sweet high end while retaining tight, solid low and midrange reproduction. The 3/4″ gold-sputtered diaphragm creates a professional sound suited for digital and analog recording. Attractive vintage body style with champagne finish. 30Hz-20kHz frequency response. 130dB maximum SPL. Includes custom shock mount, mic stand adapter, and case. Requires phantom power.

I own this microphone so I am familiar with it. The MXL 990 is a condenser mic and it requires phantom power, which is powered with 48 volts. Most modern mixers or preamps do provide this source of power.

Condenser microphones have increased tremendously in popularity because of the detail and crispness of the sound. Some may argue that condenser mics pick up too much noise, but here again, it depends on the application. I do not consider it an issue. If you were playing a live concert then it certainly would be an issue.

Obviously, the MXL 990 is cheaper and for this price the sound is very nice. Another benefit is that it comes with the shockmount, and these things are not cheap. I might add that the carrying case is of hard plastic and is very sturdy.

Again, condenser mics require a mixer or a preamp, but most audiophiles use equalization anyways. This is not really a negative for the MXL 990. It is just another consideration.

The MXL 990 is crisp, clear, but is a bit more muddy or bassy than the Heil PR40. It is a great mic and is highly recommended for average studio or home usage. I dropped mine, it hit the floor pretty hard,  and it didn’t damage it. I was concerned that I broke it.

This microphone is good for computer communication and podcasting. It is popular in the music industry. I have heard several amateur radio operators use this microphone and it sounds great.

Video: Heil PR40 – MXL990 Microphone Comparison

In the not-so-distant past, satellites had to be worked with the use of cumbersome equipment such as satellite dishes and so forth. Fast forward into the future and now the military can access satellites with only a handheld. Satellite communication ((SATCOM)) with the handheld transmitter is now a reality.

Communications satellites are used for military communications applications, such as Global Command and Control Systems. Examples of military systems that use communication satellites are the MILSTAR, the DSCS, and the FLTSATCOM of the United States, NATO satellites, United Kingdom satellites (for instance Skynet), and satellites of the former Soviet Union. India has launched its first Military Communication satellite GSAT-7, its transpinders operate in UHF, F, C and Ku band bands.

The Wideband Global SATCOM system (WGS) is a high capacity satellite communications system planned for use in partnership by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and the Australian Department of Defence.

On Aug. 23, 2010, Boeing was awarded an Air Force contract worth $182 million to begin work on the seventh WGS satellite. The new spacecraft is being procured under the WGS Block II follow-on contract. The contract will ultimately include options for production of up to six WGS satellites.

If you were listening to HF radio on September 10, 2014, you would have discovered that the bands dropped out completely for several minutes. At 1:45 p.m. EDT (1745 GMT) on Wednesday, a major solar flare disrupted radio communications.

Aurora watchers in the northern U.S. should be looking for possible activity both Thursday and Friday nights. A pair of CMEs could cause geomagnetic storms. A G3 (Strong) has been issued.

More news can be found at the Space Weather Prediction Center.

Windows XP Is Making A Comeback

It’s unofficial, but it is believed that Microsoft Service Pack 4 has been launched. This must be a big relief to the many fans of Windows XP that have not upgraded to a newer version.

Even though Windows XP support has ended, Windows XP is just too popular to go away. Consider all of those old computers in the schools across the nation. Will the new budget allow for new computers?

Just hold on! Windows 9 may be coming soon to save the day for those that are interested.

Cubical Quad Antenna Dimensions


Full Wave Driven Element


A2 + B2 = C2

Fed on the side = Vertical polarization (VHF)
Fed on the bottom = Horizontal polarization (HF)

Matching Stub (75 Ohms)
984/F x Velocity Factor divided by 4

Cubical Quad Antenna Calculator (Will include spacing)

A cubical quad antenna is based on a full wave legth, where a yagi antenna is based on a half-wave length.

Ham Fair Tokyo 2014: YAESU FT-991

The YAESU FT-991 transceiver is displayed at the Ham Fair Tokyo in 2014.

The 20M Extended Double Zepp Antenna

The Extended Double Zepp (EDZ) Antenna 20 Meters

Leg: 44 feet          Leg: 44 feet

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Stub: 9 feet 6 inches (450 Ohm Ladder Line)

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Coax to transmitter (50 Ohm any length)

It’s Time To Put Up The 20 Meter EDZ And Add 3-dB Gain Over Your Dipole!

This 20 Meter Extended Double Zepp (EDZ) antenna should produce a 3-dB over the average half-wave dipole. This is significant enough to try it. An automatic tuner should tune this antenna with no problem. If one should feel it necessary, a 1:1 Balun would do the job.

Basically, the Extended Double Zepp Antenna is a pair of 5/8 wave elements. The total length is approximately 1.25 wavelengths long.

For different bands and different lengths, here is a chart that is helpful. The figures are not exact with this example, but they are close enough for ham radio.


(A) One element length is:

One leg is… 598.5/F (MHz)

(B) Stub length is… 142/F (MHz)

The 12 Meter EDZ Antenna

The same principals apply for the 12 Meter EDZ. For each leg, use 25 feet 3 inches. For the stub, use 5 feet 5 inches.

I have a 32-inch Samsung flat screen TV that plays well and has great color in the picture. The speakers in the television are adequate but I want a little more audio. I just like the big sound, something more of a studio quality. This is my first LED TV so I’m getting used to the connections in the back. I’m trying to find a simple way to get better audio from this TV.

I ordered a Y adapter. It’s a TV 3.5mm to RCA F/M cable. I was intending to hook this adapter to my mixer, but I didn’t observe if there was an audio out for this cable. After I had ordered the small adapter, I then discovered that there was no audio out. The Y adapter didn’t work. Oh well. It was a cheap price.

I had also ordered 3.5mm male to male cable ( MU15MMS 15 feet Slim 3.5mm Stereo Audio Cable – M/M), about 15 feet of it. I experimented to see if this 3.5mm would hook up to the place designed for a digital cable, which is the correct cable.

I used an adapter (LE Quality Headphone Adapter Stereo Gold Plug 1/4-Inch (6.3mm) Male to 1/8-Inch (3.5mm) Female by efuture) to go from the 3.5mm jack to the 1/4 in. jack that fits into my mixer.

Guess what? It worked! I don’t think it is true stereo, yet the audio quality is not bad at all. This will suffice until I can obtain the proper cable (AmazonBasics Digital Optical Audio Toslink Cable, 6 Feet), a stereo receiver, and some nice shelf speakers.

I’m running the cable to a Behringer 802 mixing board, which gives me the opportunity for some modest equalizing, and the convenience of the little mixer is the sweet part. And audiophiles like knobs to play with.

The speakers I recently purchased sound great, so I am trying to make use of my small, casual studio. It’s not that expensive to install a nice sounding system. Nothing elaborate here, but way better than the standard factory quality. I am satisfied with the sound.

I know. Who watches television anyway?

I didn’t have the big audio with my Google Chromecast, while watching YouTube videos. The audio was from the television speakers and now it is channeled through my mixer and speakers.

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