Welcome
AB1JX

This site is here because I felt the need to establish a web presence again somewhere. After being a webmaster (and postmaster, etc.) for 9 years at my last job and running an official website plus 3 or 4 unofficial servers on unix boxes with Apache, being retired and at home on dialup is kind of a let-down.

Yes, I am a ham, but not a very active one. I was originally licensed in 1976 as WA1ZTA (Technician class), but I wasn't very active at that either and back then you had to be able to prove some certain number of cw contacts in order to renew a license. My DX-100's power transformer let out the magic smoke in my first cw contact. I was active a little on 2 meters when I could borrow a rig (working for another ham helped there) but it all tapered off and I gradually lost interest and let it expire. I really wanted at least a general so I could do HF phone and meant to get relicensed again someday. When I found that they'd dropped the code requirement I studied and came back as AB1JX in December 2008.

My interests have always been divided between computers and radio. I like listening to 75 meter AM phone, but if I'm trying to concentrate on some program I'm writing, the radio is too much of a distraction so I turn it off. More and more often I seem to be always writing something. I just did a bunch of work to get http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/html/ up and running which took a few months of working out details. It's not my site, but I volunteered to put together something that people without Flash could use. I don't like Flash so I usually kept it turned off when I had it, and there's no Flash for OpenBSD so I really hate finding some site that depends on Flash. What I hadn't anticipated is that there are catalogs back to 1939, so much of the gear I hear on AM today is advertised new in those pages. Johnson Rangers and Valiants, Hammarlund Super Pros, Hallicrafters, National recievers, Collins gear, even Harvey-Wells. Radio Shack used to be big on ham gear, and even sold things as diverse as Dormeyer food mixers and mini-bikes.

Most of my radio-related activity lately has been concentrated on my collection of recievers. Any ham should listen more than they talk, but I carry that to an extreme and I don't think I've keyed a transmitter on any band in a year. I keep an old SP-600JX for nostalgia reasons, but it draws too much power and wears out tubes that are hard to find. I seem to have concentrated on Radio Shack recievers, which are low-end by modern ham standards, but some of the best they sold. I've got 2 DX-150As, 1 DX-160, 1 DX-302, 1 DX-398. None of them seem to work quite right, which keeps me tinkering. My favorite is the DX-150A, but the DX-302 is a close second. I've put in some audio mods and hooked it up to an HH Scott external speaker so it sounds pretty good, but it hears things in places it shouldn't.

This site is here partly to try to drum up some web work or freelance programming to supplement my meager fixed income from my IRA. When my job got eliminated by budget cuts and I decided to retire at 55 my income dropped to 1/7 of what it was. It buys groceries, but that's about it.

It's also a place to put stuff that may or may not be ham-related. I like to tinker with making little Javascript calculators because a web page is an easy-to-build user interface that gives everyone access. Rather than write something that depends on installing something and is operating system specific, here you can go to a web page and run something that runs in any web browser. You can even save the page and it will work offline, or look at the source to see what it's doing. Javascript's a little like GWBASIC that way, but much more portable.

I also like to tinker with alterative energy projects. I've built a few small windmills, most of which have destroyed themselves in high winds. The survivor is a little 19 inch boxfan blade mounted on a ball-bearing Chinese motor from a dishwasher that I converted to an alternator by turning down the rotor and epoxying on magnets. It's been out there for about 2 years, just survived hurricane Irene and puts out about 25 watts in gusts. I used to frequent the forums at http://www.otherpower.com which is where I got the inspiration. The mainstay though is 85 watts worth of photovoltaic panels. I run them through a series regulator with an LM723 and a P-channel power FET, then through 2 diodes of a bridge rectifier and branch off to keep 2 batteries on float charge.

If you think these pages are Spartan and lacking images, you're right. It's a low-bandwidth site, because I'm on dialup. Where I live there aren't enough customers per mile to make DSL or cable profitable, but I kind of like it that way. This is the view from the front yard.

That house is about 1000 feet away by Google Earth, and it's pretty much the closest neighbor. I'm at 1600 feet, and the view is about 180° from the east through south around to west. Good spot for a ham, but windy most of the time.

Frontyard

If you want to search this site, I don't have one of those fancy Google custom search boxes. You can search this site (or any other) using the normal Google page with a search string like this (without quotes): "site:ab1jx.webs.com calculators". Put the keyword site: and enough of the site name to uniquely identify the site somewhere in the search string (no space between them), then a space and the word(s) you're searching for. This isn't wizardry, it's from the Google Advanced Search page. You can also restrict the domains searched. I restrict the domains to .org, .edu if I'm looking for information on something and don't want to be bombarded with hundreds of hits from people trying to sell junk.

It's also here because I like to write and this is a good place to put stuff. Viewpoints expressed here are entirely my own. Oh, and I'm also single, alone since 2002. There's a more complete bio at QRZ

The self portrait with my Tolstoyian beard was done 7/9/2013 to convince someone I haven't seen in 10 years that I was getting old. Available light, Nikon Coolpix 990, handheld by me, 1 of about 25.

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