BARC Christmas Party
For those that missed it, it was fun and had good food. Awards were handed out, stories told, and appetites satisfied. A total of about 15 members were there while 4 more were on zoom. Next year you all need to make a commitment to come and bring a dish. The Immanuel Baptist Church meeting room was ample space and a good place to have the event, thank you Mark for getting the room and all those that came with a dish. They were excellent. Merry Christmas to all.
Drone Show at Washington airport.
December 17th was the first Drone show. There is a real push to get the drone industry started here in eastern NC. Training pilots, establishing factories to build them and software industry to control them is hoped to get established here. There were “full scale” airplanes, a noon time aerobatic show, Radio control airplane demonstrations and many vendors or booths to visit to see how the technology is maturing. Some photos…
Special vehicle with pneumatic tower for the antennas, the control and the video feeds were coming from the drones.
Search and rescue organizations use expensive drones to find people. Their drone was made in Japan (DJI) and had four sets of stereo cameras, one on each side, to detect obstacles and avoid collisions. They could however use Amateur radio help in being able to cover areas bigger than 2 miles as that is as far as their assigned HT’s can go. We could help them communicate farther than 2 miles with other frequencies or repeaters. Ideas anyone?
The multiple types of drones were interesting. Drone plans are available that you can 3D print the parts and assemble them yourself. This is a modular idea where different functional modules can be snapped onto the bottom for different purposes. Cameras, ground penetrating radar, drop box to drop fish food and many more multipurpose modules can be attached.
Some drones took off the ground with electric motors on the booms and then, when in the air, the gas engine in the back would start and push the airplane into flying mode. The electric motors would then stop and the plane would fly like a normal airplane carrying whatever payload in the belly of the body for hours. It would fly automatically and then return to the takeoff site. It would then transition to vertical landing by turning on the electric vertical motors and stopping the gas engine. This would stop forward motion and land vertically. The orange drone takes off vertically then turns horizontal flying a programmed path taking very high resolution photos. Landing is just the reverse. Horizontal flight with wings is much more efficient and makes the batteries last longer.
Some drones are “tethered” or tied to a box on the ground by a cable. This sounds crazy. Why would you tether a drone? Some applications of this technology may want a platform in the sky to hold cameras and other sensors at an altitude and stay there for days on end. The cable brings power to the drone and it does not need a pilot to fly it as it goes only straight up or down like an elevator. With high resolution cameras, they can monitor very large areas and see smaller areas that could use more scrutiny and send out a mobile drone to that area only. For amateur radio, we could use it to hoist a temporary antenna or repeater to a great height that we would otherwise need a tower. This would be perfect for emergency communication use in a disaster. Of course we need this!
Many educational institutes are starting educational programs like STEM education, flight school, drone engineering and software writing. Any drone that weighs more than 250 grams will need flight training to get certification to fly these larger birds. The FAA was present as was the Coast Guard.
This was the first drone show and it was free. It is interesting which frequencies they want to use (looking at 2.4 – 5 GHz). We need to keep a look out as to what is happening to the frequency spectrum to be able to defend our spectrum! Maybe we can be part of the conversation and help steer the direction that this is going. Keep a good lookout! 73 Peter.
Software based Oscilloscope
If you listen to the “Amateur Radio Workbench” podcast, they frequently make reference to how many purchases they entice each other to make on the show, things that they did not know they needed! I was a victim of this enticement and used their discount coupon to buy an “Analog Discovery2” from Digilent. It is a software based oscilloscope, signal generator and much more. You have to see it to understand the trouble shooting you can do with this tool. You can test circuits, design electric circuits and find logic problems in electronics. I just got the box and unpacked it. Here are the parts. You download the manual and the software (runs on PC, Mac, Linux). It is quite something. I am just learning the tool. and will post more info as I learn how to use this.