Category Archives: Slightly Off Topic

Raspberry Pi Vintage Radio

This project was a winner in the Maker Share Mission May contest. While not strictly shortwave, of course, many of SWLing Blog readers enjoy, as I do, all things radio, and especially creative and new expressions of radio. Here is a brief excerpt from the MakerShare posting:

Vintage radios are fascinating. At one point the radio was the main method for mass communication of news and entertainment and was manufactured in a variety of styles to be prominently displayed in a home. Unfortunately, many vintage radios that have been physically preserved no longer function and it is impractical for them to be repaired. Described is the design and implementation of the Raspberry Pi Radio (RPiRadio), a device that bypasses the analog electronics of a vintage radio and digitally recreates the behavior of a vintage radio that is able to be tuned to vintage radio programming.

The whole posting may be found here, with extensive details on the building of the radio and how it was programmed for sound replicating the vintage radio era.

While I love tinkering with old radios and trying to bring them back to life, some radios are just beyond reasonable repair. This can bring old radios back to life in a way which seeks to honor their past – a very cool idea indeed!

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.       Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

Our Galaxy Expressed as Jazz

Rather than take pictures of the Milky Way, astronomer Mark Heyer decided to capture it in a completely different art form.

This amazing video is part of an article from Interesting Engineering  depicting the motion of the Milky Way translated into a musical score.

While most astronomers love capturing unique and stunning images of the Milky Way, one astronomer wanted to capture the galaxy in a unique way. Astronomer Mark Heyer expressed how the galaxy moves in the musical composition “Milky Way Blues.”

This is no Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” as the music isn’t simply inspired by the galaxy’s sounds; it is the galaxy’s sounds. The University of Massachusetts Amherst professor created an algorithm that transformed the data into a series of notes.

“This musical expression lets you ‘hear’ the motions of our Milky Way galaxy,” he says. “The notes primarily reflect the velocities of the gas rotating around the center of our galaxy.”

Heyer assigned notes to the atomic, molecular and ionized gases that can be found between the stars in our galaxy. He then gave different pitches, tones and note count to the velocity and spectra of each gas phase. For example, atomic gases were given an acoustic bass sound, molecular gasses got woodblocks and piano, and ionized gases became saxophone notes.

“Astronomers make amazing pictures, but they’re a snapshot in time and therefore static. In fact, stars and interstellar gas are constantly moving through the galaxy but this motion is not conveyed in those images. The Milky Way galaxy and the universe are very dynamic, and putting that motion to music is one way to express that action.” He chose to compose this piece using a pentatonic scale – with five notes in the octave instead of seven – and in a minor key, because “when I heard the bass notes it sounded jazzy and blue,” he said.

You can read more about this incredible process here.

Watch the video here.

Enjoy!

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.       Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

Great deal on backpacks at Spec-Ops


In memory of Peal Harbor, Spec-Ops Brand is hosting a flash sale on three of their packs. The backpack geek in me wants to spread the word.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Spec-Ops packs are of excellent quality, mil spec, widely used in the military, backed by a lifetime warranty, and made here in the United States.

$59.95 for their Recon Ruck Ultra pack is a steal!

Click here to check out the sale.

Deal Alert: Tactical pack sale at Spec.-Ops. Brand

The Spec.-Ops. Brand THE Tactical Pack UAP

SWLing Post readers know I’m a certified pack geek. Well, I just received an email from one of my favorite tactical backpack and gear suppliers: Spec.-Ops. Brand. They’re having an unheard of 70% off sale on some of their overstocked tactical packs.

 

I’ve mentioned Spec.-Ops. in a number of previous posts as I own a lot of their gear including the T.H.E. Pack, Pack Rat, Triple S, DPO, Op Order Pouch, and All Purpose Bag.

If you’re into camping, preparedness, or just like backpacks, I highly recommend Spec.-Ops. gear. Everything is made in Texas and carries a lifetime warranty. When I bought my ($189) T.H.E. Pack Tactical, ACU on sale I got a great deal at $110–now they have this same pack for $56!! Yep–I’m likely going to buy another at this price.

Click here to view the tactical pack sale on the Spec.-Ops. Brand website.