Saturday, January 19, 2008

HAARP Moon Echo Experiment

Tonight, the HAARP transmitter in Alaska was used to direct exceedingly powerful radio pulses (around 4 Gigawatts effective radiated power) at the moon at a frequency of 6.7925 MHz and I could easily receive the echoes from the two second bursts here on earth with my amateur radio rig.

Waterfall spectrogram of radio echoes from the moon.
Click on the photo, then on "all sizes" for a larger image.
MoonEcho 6.7925 MHz 19Jan08 0015z


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Happy 60th Birthday to the Transistor !

In honor of the 60th birthday of the transistor, here are some photos:

The First Transistor
1st_transistor_photo


Replica of the First Transistor
1st_transistor_replica


Diagram of the First Transistor
1st_transistor_diagram


The first transistor was developed in 1947 at Bell Labs by Shockley, Brattain, and Bardeen and it was made from germanium not silicon. Germanium was used through the 50's and into the 60's before being completely replaced by silicon transistors. Those of you who are old enough will remember the first transistor radios in the 50's. I do. Before long there was a competition over the number of transistors in the radio. Seven transistor radios, nine transistor radios--a big advertising deal was made over the number of transistors and the consumer was led to believe that more is better. Around the time I got into electronics, around 1959, 1960, I disassembled a 14 transistor radio and discovered that several of the transistors were fake! (had only two leads, or had the leads twisted together) A good radio can be built with six to nine transistors but they added several fake ones to boost the count and fool the public into thinking it was a better radio. This was a interesting lesson.

Throughout the 50's and into the 60's, transistors were made and packaged one at a time, and then assembled into circuits that you could see without your glasses and work on with your hands and a soldering iron. Plenty of transistors are still used as individual devices today, especially in high-power or radio circuits, but in 1959 Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments patented the first integrated circuit, where more than one transistor was fabricated simultaneously on the same substrate, along with components like resistors and capacitors to form a complete circuit that performed a function. The photolithography techniques used to "print" these circuits soon made it just as easy to make a miniature 20 transistor circuit as it was to make a single transistor and this was the way to the future. In 1971, Intel introduced the first microprocessor, a slow little 4-bit micro containing about 2,500 transistors. By 1975, Popular Electronics published the famous article that launched the personal computer revolution. It was an article on how to build a computer using Intel's 8080 microprocessor. The 8080 contained about 4,000 transistors. Today the micro in your average personal computer contains about 500 million transistors. The latest dual-core server processors contain about 800 million. Your typical desktop or laptop computer today contains over 2 billion transistors in all. The simple transistor has come a long way.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

All Time Favorite Albums

I'm a big fan of classical but here is a list of my all time favorite non-classical albums, in approximate order, starting with my most favorites at the top:

Tarkus (ELP)
Trilogy (ELP)
Works Volume 1 (ELP)
Brain Salad Surgery (ELP)
ELP (ELP)
Close to the Edge (Yes)
Aqualung (Jethro Tull)
Aja (Steely Dan)
Electric Ladyland (Jimi Hendrix)
Fragile (Yes)
Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd)
Abbey Road (The Beatles)
Blind Faith (Blind Faith)
Thick as a Brick (Jethro Tull)
Wishing You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
The Doors (The Doors)
John Barleycorn Must Die (Traffic)
Romantic Warrior (Return to Forever)
Chicago 9 (Chicago)
The White Album (The Beatles)
Blood Sweat & Tears (Blood Sweat & Tears)
Heavy Weather (Weather Report)
Elegant Gypsy (Al DiMeola)
Friday Night in San Franciso (Paco de Lucia, Al DiMeola, John McLaughlin)
Selling England by the Pound (Genesis)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John)
The Six Wives of Henry VIII (Rick Wakeman)
Machine Head (Deep Purple)

How about yours?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Pardon My Absence

I've been kind of busy over the holidays, and also busy setting up a second blog. I didn't want to clutter this one up with a lot of technical electronics and radio stuff!

http://kw2p.blogspot.com/