28 April 2008

Small Wonder Labs SW-30+ - shipped!

According to the "shipping status" page, it started its journey on 23rd April, 2008.

Keeping my fingers crossed...

16 April 2008

A (great?) weightsaver for SOTA excursions

I am test driving an SGH-i780 smartphone that weights about 120 grams. It has:
  • mobile phone
  • internet surfing abilities
  • embedded GPS
  • photocamera 2Mpx
  • videocamera 320x240
The operating system allows running all sorts of applications, including HAM related ones.

In 120g you have at least two devices you would probably carry along: the photocamera (say 150g for ultracompact year 2008 models) and the GPS receiver (that's 100g for my Geko201). You might or might not want to film your activation, that accounts for 400g or more. A light mobile phone is around 90g. Some crazy SOTAers have carried laptops with them, that is at least 1kg... Let's try a comparative table:

Tool Weight (g) Weight gain (g) Cost (EURO) Saving (EURO)
Mobile phone 90 Assuming i780 30 Assuming i780
GPS 90 with second 130 Costs 400 EURO
Camera 150 battery is 160g. 100
Videocamera 400
TOTAL w/o laptop 730 570 420 20
Laptop 1000
TOTAL 1730 1570 720 320

As of mid April 2008, this smartphone seems to be both a weight and a cost saver for technologically sick SOTA activators.

Drawbacks found so far:
  • it has a non-standard connector for audio in/out, so it cannot be easily used for digital modes with PocketDigi
  • the battery does not last very long, and Samsung sells the device with a second battery
Let's see how it performs next Sunday if WX allows for an excursion.

14 April 2008

VCR Power Supply

While the shack is still a "work in progress", I disassembled a working (electrically) Philips VR301 3-head VCR. It still was a 98% through-hole device, and it shows A LOT of molded inductors.

The power supply caught my attention. It is in a shielded box, relatively compact and has many unmarked output wires. It might work as a bench lab supply, so I checked unloaded voltages.

On one line it has:
  • +5.35V
  • +13.7V
  • -22V
On the second line:
  • +5.25V
  • +10.7V
  • +24V
I had hoped for a dual +/-5V or +/-9V, but I got instead a nice +24V for driving a varicap diode.

I wonder how much current each line can source. That's for the next experiment. One day...

09 April 2008

The shack is building up

New home, new shack!
Here's how it looked like on April 7th, when the laminated flooring was almost complete.