full blog list
journal - 2019
CHCCS ARDF home page
CHCCS ARDF current calendar
ARDF event reports
Bear Island 2018 trip
Canann Valley, July 2019, trip
amateur radio - technician exam practice
cts - course timing system - doc
Welcome to the IslandCT website, a site about science, technology, nature, education, and related topics hosted by Kelly L. Sears and Patrick R. Sears.
For comments, suggestions, and questions; please contact frontal[dot]harvest[dot]25[at]gmail[dot]com.
2019-07-03 -- Patrick
This podcast is about the wonderful fossils coming out of the amber mines in Tanai, Myanmar. We talk about the Chinese paleontologist Xing Lida, about the how the amber makes its way to Tengchong in China, about how the amber is mined, about insects in the amber.
On the 2019 IslandCT podcast page there is a paragraph with keywords from the podcast.
2019-05-27 -- Patrick
First podcast of 2019. It's back! And this one is fascinating. Fish with more than ten opsin genes! Multi-layers of photoreceptors! Super cool.
Check it out on the 2019 IslandCT podcast page .
2019-05-24 -- Patrick
We just found this lost podcast. It was recorded in December 2018 with our son Isaac. We were in a Canaan Valley State Park cabin, WV. The podcast can be downloaded as IslandCT-055.ogg or as IslandCT-055.mp3 . Notes can be found on the 2018 IslandCT podcasts webpage. It's the last entry. The recording is a bit scratchy. We discuss lock picking, implantable nano-devices powered like RFID tags, and tracking cellular changes during development.
As an aside, we've been too busy to keep up with our original podcast schedule. Mostly, it's putting on the ARDF events that has been eating up our time. It's all good. The ARDF events are super cool. Also, it won't go on like this for ever. Most of our time is taken up with building equipment and that's nearing completion; we hope : ) Anyway, the plan is to keep the podcast going. But for now, we're not setting an schedule.
2019-04-02 -- Patrick
We're super excited. This Saturday is the first spring 2019 CHCCS ARDF event. Announcements and Info for the events are posted _here_.
Kelly and I had a wonderful morning last Sunday putting up antennas. It wasn't a run. Just a nice couple hours in Carolina North Forest, enjoying nature and the beautiful weather. We got to watch a large owl for a few minutes. No horns. The markings were difficult to discern because he was backlit. We talked a lot about the up coming ARDF season and other outing plans. The USA ARDF Championships coming to North Carolina will be super exciting.
Joseph Huberman and Ruth Bromer (Backwoods Orienteering Klub) just purchased a full set of dual-band ARDF transmitters from Jiri Marecek (OK2BWN, Czech Republic). They offered to loan them for our CHCCS events. Thanks guys, that's super! We'll get to test them in a few weeks. If enough of our 2 m receivers work, we'll put on a 2 m Classic on May-18. Super cool!
But for this first event of the spring, the most exciting thing is the new electronic course timing system (cts). A lot went into getting it working and we're finally ready to use it. This will make a huge difference to both participants and course designers. For participants, it means that they will see exactly when they found each fox. It also means the start and finish will be more exciting. In the past, we had to write down everything by hand. So the timing had quite a wide margin of error. Also, it was hard to bother with the starter box since the timing wasn't precise. Now, the starter box will be close to the start and participants can wait for the start beeps, punch their RFID card, and know that fox #1 just came on. For course designers, it means that we can place remote starts and finishes since no one has to be there to record the time. Very cool. In practice, we won't have either the start or the finish more than 50 m from our main base. After all, we want to get pictures : ) But, it will definitely be more like a championship event; much fun.
The field boxes. We're still building and writting software. But we have enough to run the first event. I just checked the RTC on each one and had to scramble a bit. One was off by many years and one didn't read the RFID card. Both could just be a quick fix, or maybe more. Try to fix them? Five days before the event? Nope. We have spares. Redundency is great : ) In the end, one box was 4 seconds off and all the others were only 1 second off. That would be a serious problem for the transmitters, but not for the cts field boxes. In the future, we'll implement RTC drift adjusment in the software that runs on the laptop. The box at the far left is actually the download box that will be connected to the laptop. Right-click and view image to see full size.
If you're coming to an event, consider registering. A new way this will help us both is that we can enter your info in the group-list file for the course timing system and pre-assign an RFID card. This way, when you arrive, we just hand you the card.
Hope to see you out there!
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