Accessories For The Baofeng UV-5R HT

The Baofeng UV-5R V2 is turning out to be a very popular handheld transceiver for ham operators. It seems like the children are using it for a scanner and FM radio. The Bofeng dualband is so cheap that these little ham radios are flying off of the Chinese shelves. It may be from China, but the low price of the unit has won the hearts of many.

1. THE CABLE — The cable for the Baofeng UV-5R HT: USB Programming Cable for Baofeng.This is probably much easier for the average ham operator that gets the Baofeng HT.

2. THE SOFTWARE — I’ll need the CHIRP software to program the Baofeng. It works with Windows, Apple, and Linux systems.

3. THE ANTENNA — I hear the antenna that comes with the rig is not so good. I think this is the right link: NAGOYA NA-701 DUAL BAND 144/430Mhz U/V SMA-F Antenna For Baofeng.

4. THE MICROPHONE — I would like to have the microphone because it’s convenient. Here’s the link: Baofeng BF-S112 Two Way Radio Speaker.

The NooElec Dongle Is Too Much Fun!

For around $20, the NooElec Dongle is way too much fun! It’s not for everybody, but for the tech that doesn’t mind spending a little time with it, the benefits pay off.

I’ll admit at first it seemed like it wasn’t going to do anything. The error was on my side. The NooElec Dongle does work well and it’s a lot of fun, but there’s a small learning curve to begin with.

The drivers have to be loaded properly or there will be a few glitches. It helps to have someone tech savvy to get the SDR software downloaded. I must say that the process is not overwhelming, but it’s a bit tedious.

As with any type of police scanner antenna or FM radio yagi, a good antenna is a must. Also, good cable and good jumper cables are necessary. I had a short with a jumper that gave me problems.

The little antenna that came with the dongle is not all that great, yet I would not throw it away because it is good for the higher frequencies. Most probably will not use it, but it would serve well as a mobile antenna.

The SDRSharp software is not only worthy, it is free. What a nice little setup for free! It’s nothing really extravagant, but the screen looks okay and the functions are spot on. It’s really a nice package to cost nada. And it works. I promise.

I am new to the SDR scene, so I have not mastered the apps that can be added on, nor have I tried other software.

I ordered the RF coaxial coax cable assembly F female to MCX male. My police scanner antenna is a homebrew and I have television cable running into the house. This is the F female to MCX male pigtail. It is solid enough to do the task.

I have a short piece of television cable coming from a signal booster (4 Port Cable TV/HDTV/Digital Amplifier Internet Modem Signal Booster Internet AMP) into the dongle. So I am using an amplifier.

The main thing is not to get confused when hooking the dongle and implementing the software. Patience is a must here. The process is a bit confusing running out of the gate.

I got the FM radio to work on my trial run and and slowly I gained enough know-how to get the police scanner frequencies to function. I do not have the software acting as a scanner per se. I basically have a storage of chosen frequencies that I can choose at will. I’m sure the dongle will scan, I just haven’t got around to that part yet.

The frequencies on the software were not exact, as compared to my Uniden police scanner. There’s probably a way to correct this. I just haven’t found that out yet.

There’s another problem that I haven’t resolved yet. My computer froze up on me and I did get it to play after shutting it down. But, after using the dongle and software for some time, my computer seems more sluggish than it should. I’m sure there is a fix for this. I wish somebody would give me the heads up on this one. Is my processor just too slow? What’s the deal?

I can say that for so little investment a techie can have a lot of fun. The dongle does work but patience is required. The SDR# software is fantastic. So what is not to like?

How To Save On The Electric Bill

I’ve heard of several ways to save on the electric bill. Some methods work, some don’t, and some are just too boring to even consider. After watching and listening to this valuable tip on a DIY video, I was very impressed. This is a quick way to save on electricity with little effort.

Today’s water heater is commercially equipped with two heating elements. The design is to rapidly heat 50 gallons of water for a family of four or more. For a couple, single person, or a small family, water usage may be minimal.

The idea is this: Simply disconnect the bottom hot water heating element. This will heat the top section, allowing hot water for 25 gallons, instead of the normal 50 gallons. Only one of the heating elements will be used and this would save money immediately.

It is best to hire an electrician if you’re not confident with the procedure.

We are presented with another valuable money saving tip. At certain times when hot water is not immediately needed, just turn of the circuit breaker switch to the hot water tank. The hot water tank is one of the most demanding appliances in the house, so if we can reduce this cost, this will save us on the monthly utility bill.

Reminder: Check Water Meter For Leaks

For those that live in a dwelling and are responsible for monthly water usage, then you are well aware of the water bill. The average water bill is reasonable and it rarely fluctuates. If you have an unusually high utility bill, there may be a water leak. Reminder to self: Check water meter for leaks more often.

If there is a leak on the hot water side of the plumbing, the electric bill will increase substantially. I know, because this just happened to me. My electric bill was higher than normal and my goal was to get to the root of the problem.

The culprit was a leaking elbow joint that was on the hot water side. The hot water leak was causing my hot water heater to run constantly, thus causing my electric bill to rise. The hot water was only lukewarm and there didn’t seem to be as much water pressure.

A hot water leak is worse than a cold water leak and will create more problems.

The way I check for water leaks is to monitor the water meter. There is a red arrow that spins when the water is being used. Obviously, when someone flushes the toilet or is washing dishes, the arrow will spin at a rapid pace. When no water is being used, the arrow should not spin at all. If it does, there is a leaking pipe somewhere.

If it is a hot water leak, it means a high water bill and a high electric bill.

Reminder to self: Check water meter for leaks on a schedule.

What’s new in technology? The new USB cable 3.0, also called SuperSpeed (SS), can transfer more data and will be 10 times faster than the current 2.0 USB cable. The cable will be blue and it will have the SS label on it. There is a 3.0 adapter available that is currently on the market.

New Computers Come With 3.0 And 2.0 Ports

The new laptop is equipped with both — the 3.0 and 2.0 ports: Dell Inspiron i3531-1200BK 15.6-Inch Laptop Win with Windows 8.1.

Here is the new desktop if you prefer: Dell Inspiron i3646-1000BLK Desktop with Windows 8.0.

This is interesting. The Windows 7 version is more expensive: Dell Inspiron i3647-1233BLK Desktop (Windows 7).

3.0 Adapter Is Available

The older computer will be able to connect a 3.0 to a 2.0 port, but the speed will remain the same. It takes the 3.0 USB port to gain faster speeds.

Until a computer is purchased with USB 3.0, you will need to install a USB 3.0 PCI Express card to provide a USB 3.0 interface. For example: Anker® Uspeed USB 3.0 PCI-E Express Card with 4 USB 3.0 Ports and 5V 4-Pin Power Connector for Desktops [VL805 Chipset].

Manufacturer’s Note

PLEASE NOTE: This PCI-E card is powered by a 5V 4 pin power connector or sata 15 pin power connector. Please confirm that your computer power supply is equipped with a 5V 4 pin power connector plug or sata 15 pin power connector before purchasing. This is necessary to ensure sufficient power supply and smooth transfers, particularly for large data transfers from hard drive disks (3TB or above).

The future is now. If you are interested in electronics, or more specifically police scanners, then big changes are being made at this very moment. Long gone are the crystal days when all stayed the same. When it comes to police scanners, digital is the new kid on the block and digital is king. Software Defined Radio (SDR) is replacing the police scanner as we know it.

It does not mean that we will throw away our conventional police scanners. Access to computers, good software, and the technology that drives it signify a new age. We have already seen the coming of digital television. The next step will be digital audio.

Software defined radio is actually more practical if you think about it. The digital police scanner will cost you around $400 from the shelf. One may be found for a little less than that. If you want to search a brave new world of SDR with the computer, this will cost you just a little over $20!

This is significant enough to buy the dongle, download the SDR software (Windows), and dive into this new technology. There’s nothing to lose at all. The SDR software, which is free by the way, allows the user to find new frequencies in the digital world. This technology is definitely stirring some major excitement.

I just ordered the NooElec NESDR Mini USB RTL-SDR & ADS-B Receiver Set, which was previously packaged as: (TV28T v2.  RTL2832U & R820T Tuner, MCX Input. Low-Cost Software Defined Radio Compatible with Many SDR Software Packages. R820T Tuner & ESD-Safe Antenna Input, Guaranteed). I’ve looked at the other brands and I’ve decided on this one.

I’ve watched the YouTube video, but nothing beats hands-on experience.

In my personal opinion, software defined radio is going to grow and get better with time. Hobby enthusiasts are embracing this new technology that is bound to stay. The software is going to get better, thus opening the door even wider.

I’m a newbie myself, but it seems to me that the dongle will allow new frequencies to those that possess the analog police scanner. The potential provides numerous possibilities to explore.

I think the software defined radio is replacing the conventional police scanner. The future is now.

Accessories

1. RF coaxial coax cable F female to MCX male right angle RG316 6” — You will need the adaptor — MCX male and whatever the style is necessary to hook up another antenna. The antenna supplied with the dongle is not that good. An external antenna is optimal for better receive. My antenna is supplied with TV cable, which uses the F-connector.
2. AmazonBasics USB 2.0 A-Male to A-Female Extension Cable – 9.8 Feet (3 Meters) — The USB extension cable will get the dongle away from the computer, because some recommend this due to noise reduction.

Software

1. Gqrx — I’m going to try the Gqrx SDR software, because it runs with Linux software.
2. HAMSOFT — Linux Software for the Ham Radio Community.
3. Software — Very helpful information.

#womw Tourbillon

Defy gravity one minute at a time with the Tourbillon Watch. This timepiece is a classic. #womw

“Developed around 1795 and patented by the French-Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet on June 26, 1801, a tourbillon aims to counter the effects of gravity by mounting the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage, to negate the effect of gravity when the timepiece (thus the escapement) is stuck in a certain position.”

If you are out to feel good about yourself, you’ll want to try Girard Perregaux.

The Tri-Axial Tourbillon represents success and is truly amazing.

I own an Acer laptop and I needed a wireless mouse with it. I do not like the scroll pad. I recently bought the Logitech Wireless Mouse M310 (Silver).  I know, it’s just a mouse.

Anyways, it looks nice and it works. It works well.

Logitech is a company that has grown in the last few years or so and now a brand name. I just aquired some computer speakers that are great. They come with a subwoofer.

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.

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