CAKE Mixture Jan 28 2017
This session was different in two respects, a smaller group than usual was
present and the conversations revolved around just two subjects, Data and
Heat. Don K6GHA, Peter K6UNO,Tom KW6S, Eric KK6IZY, John N5HPB and Ron
W6WO, represent over 200 years of amateur and professional experience. The
fact that all are keen and active is rather special.
Don introduced the first topic- Data Mining (for lack of a better label)
and this lead to discussion on potential uses and abuses. With the myriad
of variables in such a wide ranging hobby as ours we are clearly dealing
with the Ham equivalent of the Internet Of Things or should we say the
Internet of Stuff like propagation.
Proficiency in data base tools and techniques (well beyond spread sheet
software), will be necessary to produce valuable results. The value of
legacy vs real-time data is something for future consideration. Ron
declared himself a data skeptic due to the way data becomes statistics
that can easily be manipulated. During WWII Winston Churchill distrusted
statistics but made great use of what we now call “Fake News” to mislead
the enemy. A penetrating book on this topic is entitled, A Bodyguard of
Lies. Our discussion pointed to many means to gain access to private data
including internet browsing and purchasing, telephone calls, WebX,
cameras,voice analysis and so on.
The subject of heat came up in several ways. Eric showed a Sainsmart
soldering iron, about the size of a fountain pen- remember them ! The iron
was powered by USB which can be monitored and controlled from a PC. There
was a discussion on the danger of measuring current using very cheap
multi-meters which do not adhere to the required standards. Tom showed
some examples of high power ICs that have heat removal consequences. Tom
also mentioned the importance of setting and maintaining the correct bias
on power amplifiers.
John showed a board-level product of a 30 Watt SSB radio for 40 meters
called Bitx40. It was made in India and appears to be a high standard,
however the small size of the PA heat sink is curious. Ron also
questioned the heat sink for the 5W amp just released by QRP Labs. It
looked much larger than seemed necessary and lead to general questions
about heat transfer and how the size of a heat sink should be determined.
One of Ron’s sons has expertise in the subject and pointed to the site of
a product called CoolPoly. The material used is a form of plastic designed
for efficient heat transfer and can be injection molded. The site
illustrates finned heat sinks similar to those made of Al in common
use.The material can also include conductive particles to provide RF
isolation when used to make enclosures. Literally cool stuff !
Thank you to all those who show up and share their knowledge and to those
who read and comment on these notes from afar. Let me know if you have a
question that we can include in our discussions you may receive answers,
informed opinions certainly.
All are welcome and I hope to see you at our next session on Feb 11 at the
Church of Vintage Faith @ Highland and Mission, 10:00-noon