Modulate the shield harmonics!

click to enlarge

I recently received this handheld distance measurement device.  Like a laser pointer, it shoots out a narrow beam of red light, making a small red dot on a surface that might be 100 feet away.  It then uses a built-in telescope to view the red dot of light, and works out the distance to that surface.  The device arrived today, and I compared its measurement with that of a long fiberglass measuring tape.    The two approaches yielded answers that differed by only a tenth of a percent.  How does it work exactly?

Star Trek fans might be able to guess where I am going with this. There were episodes of Star Trek where an enemy had somehow found a way to bypass the Enterprise’s shields, at which point the captain on the bridge of the Enterprise would shout out “modulate the shield harmonics!” In the world of Star Trek, this modulation apparently restored the protection of the shields. And indeed this kind of laser distance measurement uses a modulation of a signal to accomplish its remarkable result. Continue reading “Modulate the shield harmonics!”

Making your office VPN situation faster and easier to use

We recently started using a new VPN solution at OPLF.  It is faster than our previous VPN solution and has lower latency.  It has no recurring cost and the one-time cost to get it working was under $100.  In this article I will describe this new VPN solution in detail.  I will also explain how you could set this up yourself in your own office.  Continue reading “Making your office VPN situation faster and easier to use”

Pacer users to get fees refunded

click to enlarge

Hello folks.  I am astonished to see the news (see court document) that a court case that had been grinding its way through the courts on for more than five years is apparently very close to being settled.  The result of the settlement will, it seems, lead to many people and firms that have paid fees to the Pacer system will get a lot of their fees refunded to them.  Our firm has paid many thousands of dollars to the Pacer system over the years.  I am sure many other firms can say the same.

I heard about this from alert listserv member Curtis Prescott (Linkedin page).  Thank you Curtis!

Lightning protection around the house

click to enlarge

Of course it is smart to install whole-house surge protection as it relates to the electrical power wires in the house.  See blog article.  Having installed a nice Seimens FS140 whole-house surge protector, do you get to relax?  Of course not!  If a person is going to be thorough about this, one needs to think about the other wires and cables that enter the house from outside.  Continue reading “Lightning protection around the house”

Starting an HF ham radio station

click to enlarge

Hello readers.  For some twenty years now I have had the highest level of amateur radio license that it is possible to have (“extra class”), but until now I have not really made full use of the license (call sign AA2KW).  Until now I had only made use of the license for communications in the two-meter (VHF) and 70-centimeter (UHF) bands.  Those bands are only useful for local communications (with others who are no more than a few miles away).  Recently, however, some neighbors who are good friends asked if I might introduce their grandchildren to the world of HF (high frequency) amateur radio, which can reach thousands of miles.  So I have put my toe in the water and maybe soon I will successfully do some two-way communications in the 40-meter HF band.  Continue reading “Starting an HF ham radio station”