What I learned in Amateur Radio last week: always re-evaluate your assumptions

Amateur Radio is a hobby that keeps giving, there’s always something new to learn. In the past week I learned some interesting things:

  • don’t take assumptions for granted, question everything: I assumed I had been running my HF radio on 13.8v on my power supply, because that’s what it’s rated at. It has a power out knob on the front, and I’d dialed back the power to 12v a long time back because I plugged in a cable in to the front outputs to power an antenna analyzer. This was a long time back, maybe even a year or so ago. I’d assumed the knob that’s next to front outputs controlled the output just for those front outputs on the front panel, but turns out it controls the outputs for the main high amp outputs on the back running my HF radio too. I only found out by accident because I has plugged the front output into something else this week and wanted to dial back the voltage and my HF radio but out. Huh, that was surprising by know I know I’ve been running my HF radio on less than 13.8v for over a year.
  • I’ve had S9 noise on all backs lower than 20m for as long as I’ve had my HF radio setup, so I few years now. I’d always assumed it was from something in the neighborhood. I normally work 20m or 15m so didn’t think too much of it, and didn’t spend any time to trying and track down the noise source. We’ve had a security camera system that records to hdd for a number of years but recently replaced it with Ring cameras instead. I never bothered to turn off the hdd recording box until last week as it was on a shelf under my desk. All of a sudden, my background noise on 40m dropped from S9 to S1. Huh, well that was easy, why didn’t I try that sooner?

Not all USB cables are equal: Arduino IDE not seeing Arduino Nano

I have an Arduino Sketch to upload to an Arduino Nano. Connecting the Nano to my MacBook Pro, the power led lights up and the ‘sketch upload’ led is flashing. In the Arduino IDE however, the Nano is not visible under the Port menu. Reading around online, this could either be that the FTDI drivers are not installed or something wrong with the cable.

Given that the cable that cable with my Nano is rather thin, I remember reading elsewhere that there is such a thing as a ‘charge only’ usb cable. They’re thinner because they’re only wired with the power wires and are missing the data wires.

Changing this cable for another thicker cable, now the Arduino is recognized as expected in Arduino IDE under the Port menu. Swapping between the thinner USB cable and the thicker cable confirmed the thinner cable doesn’t work for a data connection.

Microsoft Flight Simulator AI generated scenery oddity – Maenwrog, Wales, UK

Microsoft Flight Simulator uses Blackshark.ai to generate 3d scenery buildings from interpreting patterns like shadows in the 2d photo map imagery. In most cases this works great, but occasionally there’s some weird interpretations of the imagery that generates some incredible structures.

Here’s one example south-west of Maenwrog in Wales. If you look at Google Maps of this area, there is line casting a shadow on the ground and some regularly spaces structures along the shadow. I’m guessing these are power lines and pylons. However, in the sim this is interpreted as this very impressive and incredibly large bridge to no-where structure:

Location in Volanta moving map app:

It will be interesting after the upcoming UK scenery World Update if this is still here or if it gets fixed.