27 November 2013

Steve Jobs influenced by ham radio

Steve Jobs and was undoubtedly one of the most influencial persons of the last 30 years when it comes to communications and computer technology, and his approach to both technological solutions and product marketing is something to be studied for many years from now. At the origins of what many call "Steve Jobs' genius" stands also the right enviroment and opportunities from his youth, and this interview shows how Jobs admits that as a kid, spending time with an amateur radio operator neighbour was an eye-opener for him towards electronics and how people percieve certain technology-centered products. The guy's name is Larry Lang and he was an enginer at HP at the time, and he showed Steve how to build Heathkit radios; unfortunately, his callsign eludes my Google-Fu. Skip to 05:40 into the video if you are looking especially for this part, but the whole video is worth watching if you have a spare 60 minutes or so.




Also, his partner since before Apple Computer ever existed, Steve Wozniak, is also a ham radio operator since he was 6, initally WV6VLY and then WA6BND. Wozniak built his first radio when he was 10 years old and his passion and enthusiasm for electronics and technology was one of the huge assets in the first days of Apple Computer. But don't trust my word, watch this video (after about 2 minutes in):


01 November 2013

HF One MKII - cheap mobile transceiver with SDR technology


HF One MKII is another big step towards a good and cheap HF QRP transceiver. Less than 8 months ago we saw the Xiegu X1M, a small 5W SSB/CW transceiver for HF that costs under US$ 300 and weights just 500grams, bringing serious competition to the Yaesu FT-817 for those QRP mountain hiking afficionados out there. This time, the chinese electronics industry brings us for about the same price - US$ 300 + shipping, a much more refined looking product based on SDR technology and with 10W power output.



Sure, the HF One MK II mostly looks like a mobile radio you would see in a taxi and not like true ham radio equipment, but this is just until you find out the best thing about it: because it's packing SDR technology it has I/Q outputs and the modest front panel can be replaced with a proper full-fledged software like PowerSDR, the moment you hook it up to a computer. Ta-daa, the meager black plastic box suddenly provides contest-class transceiver features.