Sunday, October 14, 2018

Coffeeneuring Stop #2: PJ's in The Bay

Right on schedule, the madness continues.  Today's particulars:
1. where: PJ's Coffee, Bay St. Louis MS  (it's new, not a lot at the link but it is there)
2. date: 10/14/18
3. what: 16 oz medium dark roast "Grind 35" or some such.  Had a chocolate cake ball with it.
4. ride details: warm October day in the mid-80's.  Took the neighborhood backroads there, took the railroad gravel shortcut back. 
5. 4.5 miles round-trip.

CX bike can be seen leaning against stairway railing.

Other stuff... finished reading Always Another Dawn with my coffee.  Expect a post on that book soon.

Also... I know at least some the scoop on this PJ's.  I don't want any crap from friends about this trip.  Just taking a look-see while getting another easy coffeeneuring stop in.  The coffee and cake were fine though, the staff was friendly and efficient, the place looked really nice – new, clean, & well laid-out, and I even saw a few people I know while there.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Crusin' the Coast Video

Over at the Sea Coast Echo site: here.  Worth a couple minutes' look.

Coffeeneuring Stop #1: Mockingbird Cafe

As with last year, this madness had to start with the Mockingbird.  Here are the particulars:
1. where: Mockingbird Cafe, Bay St. Louis MS
2. date: 10/13/18
3. what: triple macchiato (the real kind)
4. ride details:  a nice September-ish day in mid-October; CX bike
5. 4.4 miles round-trip
 (if you're wondering what all this is about, here's the intro page)

CX bike can be seen behind stairway railing, at the right.  Click to embiggen.

Other thoughts... Took along the kindle and read another chapter in Always Another Dawn.  75% through, will post a few wrap-up comments here at the blog when done.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Curtains for Pilot Wave Ideas?

Yeah, pretty much.  Article Famous Experiment Dooms Alternative to Quantum Weirdness at Quanta Magazine.  Don't ask me to explain it here, just go read.  I still need to read it a couple more times.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Yeah, but is it art?

Banksy artwork shreds itself after #1m sale at Sotheby's

Personally and for once, I'm at a loss to comment.

Update: I have it on Good Authority that yes, this is legitimately art.

Update #2: You can see the actual shredding happening here.  Banksy shouldn't have cheaped out on the batteries, it looks like they gave out half-way through.

Update #3: Speculation on the internet has it that this incident, its results, and notoriety have instantly increased the value of the work by 2-5x.  We shall see.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Scott Crossfield, Remembered

By coincidence, last night I picked up a kindle copy of NACA/NASA test pilot Scott Crossfield's 1960 autobiography Always Another Dawn, and then this article about Crossfield popped up today on the This Day in Aviation site.  Interesting stuff so far, but I'm barely a chapter in.

BTW, Amazon seems to be putting a fair number of older books on kindle for cheap.  This one for example was just $0.99.  Oddly enough, it was nearly $4 for direct-to-kindle.  Pricing algorithms, go figure.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Time for a Review of the FTdx-1200

This is a shorty, a re-post of the review I wrote in July over at MTC Radio's site, where I'd bought a 1200 on an open-box deal back in late January.  There I gave it 4 out of 5 stars, and am sticking with that assessment.  It's very, very good, with a few things that could be a lot better.  OK, here we go.

Upgraded from an FT-450D and it's like night and day.  The triple conversion receiver and DSP filter out noise to where SSB rivals FM for local 80m rag-chews.  Turning to digital, all of the notch filter and bandwidth options make picking out weak DX signals easy, and eliminating the unwanted ones even easier.  Back to SSB, the speech processor gives a good extra punch that my sometimes thin voice can use.

Other things to note, this is a big, solid, heavy radio!  Inside, carefully laid out circuitry, with no compromises to reduce size or weight.  Looking at all the menus, everything is adjustable, 196 menu items worth of adjustable.  With some care you can dial things in exactly the way you want them.  The display screen is well designed too, with several useful optional layouts.  Finally, the memory features are very easy to use.  I can't stress enough how handy that is.

Now for the down sides.  The internal speaker sound muddy.  When SWLing in AM mode, the DSP is heavy-handed, even on its lightest setting.  A nice external speaker and a little contour treble boost cleared up those two problems.  The pre-programmed frequency offsets for digital modes are in the way if you want to tie into your shack computer and use FLDIGI, and the related menus are not easy to sort out.  Finally nailed it all down by using WWV's time signal as a reference.  One more ding, not enough back-lighting on the controls, and there are a number of small important black-on-black buttons.  Good shack lighting is a must with this radio.

Oh but now six months along and I've got my 1200 dialed in, and it's everything I'd hoped it would be.  Just work with it and it turns into a fine radio.  My old 450D was good, but this is a big step up.

ps, back here in September:  If you want a more technically complete review, there's a pdf copy the QST review from January 2014 at this link.  The most interesting part is the sidebar article there "Downconverting, Upconverting, What's the Big Deal?"  Scroll down a couple of pages, you'll find it, it's a full page.  Also, they have pictures there.