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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Legit cold fusion breakthrough?

Last month I posted about a suspicious claim from Italian "scientists" that they had a machine that was producing 12,400 Watts of heat power out on 400 Watts on input.

The italian claim is off-base and without much merit, but now the US Navy has researchers in a lab claiming a breakthrough in nuclear energy-based cold fusion:
The scientists on Monday described what they called the first clear visual evidence that low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR), or cold fusion devices can produce neutrons, subatomic particles that scientists say are indicative of nuclear reactions.
Cold fusion is still skeptical to me, however, the US Navy is more of a respectable source than some questionable scientists who self-publish their hogwash.

I wonder if it would count towards bonus points on Field Day for "Alternate Power"?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Flare biggest of Solar Cycle 24...so far

We're about 3 years into the current Solar Cycle and so far it's been less than stellar (pun intended), that is until now.

If the recent flare is any indication, we might see better-than-predicted activity from the sun this cycle.

The CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) should be hitting earth any time over the next 36 hours with beautiful aurora over the polar latitudes. And it may knock activity on the HF bands down to a standstill.

As Sunspot 1158 continues to grow, more Earth-directed flares could erupt and wreak havoc on the bands.

An couple of amazing animations of the flare can be found here and here.

This could very well be the kick-start that sun-watchers have been looking for that shows the activity on the sun is accelerating towards a peak in the activity, predicted to be in May, 2013.

Solar X-rays:
Geomagnetic Field:
From n3kl.org

Here are some sites to bookmark for solar weather:

ARISSat-1 delayed until July

Due to changes in the work schedule for the current EVA, the launch of ARISSat-1, scheduled for right now, has been delayed until NET July, 2011.

More info can be found on AMSAT-NA's web site.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tough times for towers

They say things happen in threes, and tower fights are no exception.

Within a week, 3 articles appear online about homeowners fighting neighbors over towers in their backyards:

  • In Maryland, residents in Severna Park are up in arms over construction of an 80' tower despite owner Richard Hambly (W2GPS) obtaining all the necessary permits for the tower. Hambly, who designs GPS hardware and is a consultant on Satellite projects (someone who's quite familiar with radio interference issues) is facing complaints that neighbors have about the tower affecting property value and aesthetics and one complained that neighbors were not consulted beforehand. I didn't know hams needed their neighbors' blessings before putting up towers...

    An appeal to rescind his permit was on February 9th.
  • In New York City, residents are complaining that a 30' tower was constructed illegally and is obstructing their view (as if there's much to see in NYC other than more buildings, judging by the slideshow).

    Paul Isaacs, W2JGQ contends it was constructed legally but the city apparently revoked the permit.

    Citing a work order stoppage, residents are demanding the tower be removed permanently.
  • And out in Arizona, Lee Winsor, K1VIK is in a dispute with neighbors over 2 towers he wants built (40 and 33 feet respectively) and is claiming his knowledge of ham radio and the need for antennas trumps that of the city planning staff and wants an engineering study performed. Casa Grande ordinance states that towers cannot exceed the height of the roof of the main structure on the property, which in this case is 16 feet.

    68 residents signed a petition to have construction of the tower blocked.