Friday, October 21, 2016

The Clean Out - Radios I Have Known #1

Today starts an interesting adventure. I have been acquiring radios again at a steady rate for the last 10 or so years, plus I still have a few of my old ones. I need to get a handle on this collection, as I have decided that I just have too much "stuff" (will all due respect to George Carlin).
Most of it is here, in my garage, in boxes and crates. I'm going to sell quite a bit of it, but wanted to get back into writing at the same time. I will be posting stories about some of what I come across on my blog FOFIO! if anyone is interested in checking it out, and will post links to the articles here. I am calling the series "Radios I Have Known".
I will start out by reposting an article I wrote about a radio of my dad's.
Enjoy, and if anyone has a good story about a radio, let's hear it!

My father grew up in the 'Radio Era' which made him more radio-aware than my children are now. He was by no means a hobbyist, but knew enough to tell good from bad. He knew that AM radios had to be turned for best reception, and a good swiveling whip antenna was necessary for FM reception. For him, the radio needed to be able to pick up his NPR stations, WCBS-AM, and get the Mets games when he was on the road.

I ran a sales territory for our family business. As Dad got older, he eventually came off the road, and ran the company from inside. Every now and then though, he would schedule to ride with one of his salespeople to keep an eye on things. He rode with me for few days once on my Northern New Jersey run. Thursdays on that run, I would sometimes stop at the offices of Gilfer Shortwave, and chat with Jeanne Ferrell and Paul Lannuier. I had purchased several radios there over the years, and would buy the various shortwave books and guides from them as they were released.

That one Thursday that Dad came along, he got a kick out of Gilfer, and all of the radios. He and Paul talked for a bit, and he purchased a Sony ICF-SW20. Partly because he really liked the quality of the little radio, and partly because I think he liked the folks at Gilfer as much as I did.

Dad had this radio from then, till he passed away in December 2009. It was his main radio. I saw it on his nightstand, in the bathroom, and on trips back east to visit us. Even with all of the selling and swapping I've done lately with my radio collection, I will never get rid of this radio. To me it was an acknowledgment from dad that my interests in radio were appreciated, and is a memory of the man I miss. It currently lives on my desk at work, sometimes called to duty for news, and music. Thanks for the radio Dad! I'll pass it down the line someday to Alec.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Stormville Finds

My wife Jill, KD2CHE, and I are regular vendors at the Stormville Airport Flea Market at least four weekends out of the year.  For those of you that are not aware of the market, it is held out in a rural area of Dutchess County, NY in the right angle formed by I-84 and the Taconic Parkway.  We set up a few tables and canopies, and sell our collection of cat toys, and quilted crafts as Threads by Jill (home of Awesomemouse cat toys).  They're pretty amazing products.  Check them out!  But, now back to the subject at hand,

Stormville has always been a shopping destination for me.  With over 600 vendors, it's the last of the great fleas.  They split into two sections:  Antiques, and General Merchandise.  The antique side is one of the best markets around, and has gotten even busier recently after becoming a popular destination on the show Flea Market Flip.  The general market is home to your usual assortment of flea vendors, but has a larger assortment of unique products than

Monday, May 02, 2016

Post 3 of 3 for University of Phoenix COMM/218

Using Social Media During a Speech or Presentation

     I've mentioned in more than one post during this course that I like to ad-lib.  Asking questions during some of my talks, and then tailoring the speech to the answers is one way that you can create a targeted speech, but you have to be prepared to ad-lib.  One thing that I want to try, but have not yet, is to use social media in a speech to drive that ad-lib content.  Here are some thoughts on what that might look like.

    Some of the larger IT conventions like South by Southwest, CIS, and others are starting to feature live media slideshows embedded in their talks.  The way you actually do this is to set up the photo feeds in a webpage, and then embed the webpage into your presentation.  You can set this up in a slide on your main presentation, or as a second screen depending on whether you want to visit this stream during the course of your talk, or have it live the whole time.  You can then stop and comment on interesting photos as they come up.  Depending on the situation you may need someone to filter the contents first.  Overdrive Interactive has a nice write up on this here.

     Another way to use social media in a presentation is to have a live Twitter or Facebook feed running either while you are talking or at a pre-determined point in the presentation (like during the Q&A session).  This way you can draw attention to relevant posts, and even answer question live that arrive via social media.  I've also seen this done as a ticker running along the top or bottom of the screen,

     This is nothing new really, but I think we'll see it more and more as time goes on.  I predict that the tools to do this will be built right in to presentation software.  In the meantime, here are some instructions on how to do it.

Post 2 of 3 for University of Phoenix COMM/218

Holographic Presentations?   Yes Please!

     Although I realize that the bulk of the heavy lifting in making a presentation interesting is in the presenter's own skills, visual effects can go a long way to enhancing those abilities and making the audience pay attention, and retain information.  During our 5 weeks of class, it has been mentioned that over-using graphics and making presentations too busy can have a negative effect on the audience.  Holographic technology however, is currently so new, impressive, and eye-catching that I believe it would tip the scales and make the audience sit up and notice.

     The idea of having holographic images displayed as part of a presentation is becoming reality.  It is still frightfully expensive, but new technologies like this eventually become mainstream.  The first LCD projectors for presentations were also frightfully expensive, and now they are very affordable and better quality than the originals.  Holographic projectors will eventually be just as obtainable.

     You are starting to see these displays at trade shows, and they are getting more impressive every year.  The advantages are great, other than the gee whiz effect itself.  When talking about mechanical things, the ability to show an item in 3D is much better than trying to get the audience to imagine an object in a real application.  Also, you can project over your audience, bringing the image closer to people in a large presentation.  It also makes for some really entertaining interaction with the speaker.

     This isn't science fiction anymore.  Don't believe me?  Hop in a time machine and show someone from 20 years ago an iPhone.

     There is a nice collection of posts, and tradeshow pictures at the Holographic Trade Show Exhibits Blog.

Post 1 of 3 for University of Phoenix COMM/218

The Future of Interactive Presentations

     As a top level support tech at a large medical institute, I get called to some high level meetings
every now and then for technical issues during presentations.  Recently I've noticed when getting called to meetings involving the board of directors, or various committees and panels, that they are using polling software for voting now.  This same polling back end has shown up in the Post-Doctoral orientations that I speak at too for getting statistics on the demographic makeup of our audience.
Courtesy PEXELS

     I see this as the future of many of the talks we give as the percentage of attendees with smartphones approaches 100%.  There are a few companies building integration into smartphones through apps.  One such company I found is Sendsteps (  With Sendstep's product, the voting and commenting can be done over Twitter, SMS, or via a website.  The advantage of using a third party app in this way is obvious: Remote users can easily participate in the interaction wherever they are.

     In the previously mentioned Post-Doctoral orientation, the polls were on education, areas of expertise, nationality, current institutional status, and other relevant demographics.  The results were then displayed as color pie graphs on the big screen.  With voting the results are displayed either once the voting is complete, usually by the moderator confirming a successful vote in the voting software, or as a live tally showing growing numbers for each choice.

    As devices evolve, I think the way we use them for interaction in presentations will evolve with them.  We may only be scratching the surface of what's to come.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

HRU 2016

Here is the information for my two forums this year at Ham Radio University on Jan 10 at Briarcliffe College.

Link to the Youtube video of the SDR presentation:  SDR presentation is at 1:51

Links for the LINUX forum:

Great source of RTL-SDR Dongle info, and SDR in general including SDR# and plugins:

Distros mentioned:  Mint, Puppy, Ubuntu, CentOS, Slackware, Debian, TinyCore, LXLE
Mint is my favorite.  Puppy or LXLE for older systems.

Pen Drive Linux:

Ham Radio Linux info:

Neil’s Pages:

Skywave Linux (Linux with SDR libraries already loaded):

Links for the SDR forum:

W9OY - How SDR Works:

DH1TW - Do you understand SDR?:

Great source of RTL-SDR Dongle info, and SDR in general including SDR# and plugins:

Skywave Linux (Linux with SDR libraries already loaded):


HDSDR (used in demo):

Google "linrad" for beginners info and info on getting RTL-SDR dongles to work in LINRAD.

NooElec store on Amazon:

SOFT66 Radios:

Alinco DJ-X11 (a handheld wideband receiver with SDR capability) :