Monthly Archives: September 2019

Estate Sale: Jerry takes home a Geochron world map clock

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jerry Rappel, who writes:

Being both retired, my wife and I frequently visit various estate sales and garage sales. I’m mainly looking for ham radio items, vintage radios, Beatles items, and pre 1925 – 78 records. I have been rather lucky in finding a couple vintage phonographs, vacuum tubes, and other items that I try to fit into my over stuffed ham radio room.

This day at an estate sale I did a breathtaking double take on a Geochron Special boardroom model world wall clock sitting on a table in a special wood desktop display stand (these stands alone are around $200.00 according to their website). And it had a small engraved presentation placard on the bottom front panel. (Thanks to XXXXX and Associates for your contribution).

The clock was marked $150.00. I took some pictures and checked it out on line when I returned home, sure enough this was the clock I had sent for additional information on in a ham radio magazine many years ago, discovering to my surprise it was over $1,200. Off my list immediately. WOW!! The very next day I was at the sale again as it was 20% off the second day!! I plugged it in to make sure all was well with it, and immediately took it to the table to purchase it, all 38.4 pounds of it.

Before the internet, the Geochron World Clock was the only way to see the Sunrise and Sunset on Earth in real-time, in sync with the Earth’s 23.4 degree axial tilt against the Sun. President Reagan presented as a gift to Mikhail Gorbachev as an example of American Engineering, and these photogenic world clocks have appeared in motion pictures like the The Hunt for Red October.

So back home again, I designed a solidly built shelf for it above my computer monitor, with special supports. 34 x 22 x 7 inches it just fits. This is a great help for my ham radio and SWL propagation.

I’m still in amazement at this unique find and what I paid for it. No one at the sale really knew what it was, including the people giving the estate sale! Yes I lucked out big time, being in the right place at the right time. Estate sales are great!!

There is a new version of this clock out now: The Geochron Digital 4k UHD gives viewers beautiful displays of the Earth with the sunrise-sunset rendered in real-time through a small computer that plugs directly in to your TV via HDMI.

A Geochron Digital 4k UHD (Source: Geochron)

The size of your display is only limited by the size of your TV, as you take in the terrestrial movement of the Earth’s orbit in sync with the Sun.

Click here to check out Geochron products on eBay.

Yes indeed, Jerry, you certainly snagged that Geochron for a brilliant price! Those mechanical clocks are truly a masterpiece of engineering and design.

I love the versatility of the 4K Digital Geochron clocks and had considered reviewing one for a magazine shortly after they were introduced.

Readers: If you love the idea of a greyline/sunlight map in the radio shack, but can’t afford a proper Geochron clock, consider building a simple Raspberry Pi version!  I’m about to re-purpose a Raspberry Pi 3B to be a dedicated map based on these instructions. All in–if you use an existing monitor/TV–the project will only set you back $35 or so. In my case, even the Raspberry Pi is an extra unit sitting here in the shack waiting for the project! I’m also considering Ham Clock as it has more options for customization. When I finally have a bit of time to do the project, I’ll publish it on the SWLing Post!

Thanks again, Jerry!

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WWV and WWVH special announcement marking centennial

Photo I took in 2014 of the sign above WWV’s primary 10 MHz transmitter.

(Source: ARRL News)

Starting on Monday, September 16, WWV and WWVH will broadcast a US Department of Defense message to mark the centennial of WWV and to announce the WW0WWV special event from September 28 until October 2 at the WWV transmitter site near Fort Collins, Colorado. The DoD message transmissions will air until October 1.

Kevin Utter, N7GES, a member of the WW0WWV Centennial Committee, recorded the audio track for the announcement. Utter has been an integral part of the Committee and is a highly respected member of the Northern Colorado Amateur Radio community. — Thanks to Paul English, WD8DBY

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A photo tour of the 2019 Shelby Hamfest

My Labor Day weekend was free of travel this year, so I was able to make another pilgrimage to the Shelby (North Carolina) hamfest with my good buddy, Vlado (N3CZ).

The Shelby Hamfest–referred to, locally, as “The Grand-Daddy of them All”–has long been regarded as one of the largest outdoor hamfests in the southeast US. This is the fourth year I’ve made a concerted effort to publish a photo tour of the event.

Weather was ideal for the hamfest–clear skies, sunshine and a dry weekend. No doubt, this was one of the reasons I believe the hamfest was well attended.

Shelby Photo Gallery

Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge or comment on the photos:

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Last call for SDRplay RSP/RSP1a metal cases

Many thanks to Mike Ladd of SDRplay who shared the following note on the SDRplay Facebook page:

Just a heads up. The RSP1/RSP1a metal case upgrade are almost all gone. I will not be re-releasing this case. Grab them now while you can.

Click here to purchase on eBay.

Click here to view on Amazon (affiliate link).

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Security vulnerability affects Imperial Dabman web radios

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ed, who writes:

I’m wondering if SWLing Post readers who use Imperial Dabman web
radios might want to read about this serious security vulnerability.

(Source: Threat Post)

Attackers can drop malware, add the device to a botnet or send their own audio streams to compromised devices.

Imperial Dabman IoT radios have a weak password vulnerability that could allow a remote attacker to achieve root access to the gadgets’ embedded Linux BusyBox operating system, gaining control over the device. Adversaries can deliver malware, add a compromised radio to a botnet, send custom audio streams to the device, listen to all station messages as well as uncover the Wi-Fi password for any network the radio is connected to.

The issue (CVE-2019-13473) exists in an always-on, undocumented Telnet service (Telnetd) that connects to Port 23 of the radio. The Telnetd service uses weak passwords with hardcoded credentials, which can be cracked using simple brute-forcing tactics. From there, an attacker can gain unauthorized access to the radio and its OS.

In testing, researchers said that the password compromise took only about 10 minutes using an automated “ncrack” script – perhaps because the hardcoded password was simply, “password.”

Click here to read the full article at Threat Post.

Thank you for the tip, Ed!

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