Tag Archives: lab admin

Slacker Week

Oh, I’m a baaaad boy…

I have been busy, but not so busy that I couldn’t get a small post up, what a slacker. I just wasn’t up to it, so this week is catch-up week.

20150615_105153
The clear bins on the left replaced one of the black drawer units and brought a bunch of stuff up from under the bench

One thing that got¬†done was making some component storage changes on the benchtop. There was a bunch of stuff under the work surface that if I wanted a component I had to pull out and unstack containers to get to parts. Now most of the components and parts are on the benchtop. Staying organized is hard work. ūüėČ

The Beach 40 is getting closer to completion. I have all of the sections done(ish), I need to go back and swap out a pair of capacitors in the Audio Amp and test the RF Amp section. The biggest thing I am behind on is posting updates to the project page which I will be doing this week.

I have a bunch of day-job stuff that I need to get done this week as well so it will be a bit of a crunch on time so I don’t see much solder melting in this weeks schedule but I do believe I’ll be up and running for Field Day, *knock on wood*.

On Saturday the De Anza Electronics Flea yielded some sweet¬†fruit. A very nice edition of Andrew P. Peabody’s 1873 A Manual ¬†of Moral Philosophy in great condition. Another awesome find was a Millersfalls No. 2 egg beater style hand drill, also in really good condition. The crank handle needs a little straightening but the drill is in great condition for daily use. Last but certainly not least was a bag-o-relays. Which is what I was specifically looking for at the flea. Thirty eight¬†relays, all good for radio work, and only $20.

A really good flea market day, something for the mind, something for the hands, and something for making radio waves. What more could I ask for.

Sunday was the Bay Area Radio Builders Club meeting in Cupertino. A small gathering but plenty of radio building chin-wagging along with some show-and-tell. Topics ranged from my DSB transceiver to a Raspberry Pi controlled HT set up as an Echolink station with many more abilities under the hood, and the clubs TAK-40 radio build progress. (TAK-40 link to QST magazine article PDF)

That’s all for now, the day job beckons.

Until next time, 73,
~Jon KK6GXG

Lab Book Conundrum

I have been doing a fair amount of homebrew electronics projects as of late and I am coming to a point where I need to address documentation. With my woodworking projects I really don’t worry too much about documentation. Some projects don’t even have plans beyond a couple of dimensions on a post-it note. ¬†Electronics projects are a bit different.

So far my projects have been taken from articles online, from magazines, and from books. I have kept hard copy of the designs for the most part, and any changes or additions I may have made have been noted on the hard-copy or attached as separate sheets.

Now that I am delving into the world of bigger projects and doing tests of the circuits beyond continuity at various stages in the build I should be keeping more in depth notes with test results and the like. The question is in what form should these note be. There are so many options that I’m just not sure which route to go.

DigitalDelemaThe obvious choice is an electronic notebook. I use OneNote currently and have used Evernote in the past. A part of me is a bit paranoid about data loss, so exclusively electronic notes make me uncomfortable.

I do regular backups and I keep redundant sets of data, but there is always the contingency you didn’t or couldn’t prepare for. There is also something to be said for Long Now¬†thinking when it comes to data storage. I have come across a lot of stored data in formats and on hardware that are now very difficult to retrieve and if you manage to get the data out, the big question is will it be complete.

Any body remember 5¬ľ” floppy discs? How about 10″ floppies and 8-track tapes?

This of course leads me to a hybrid solution. Digital notes occasionally printed out to hard copy and kept in binders. ¬†It’s not like I’m doing any cutting edge work or something involving national security, but if I have learned nothing else in life, I have learned this, you never know where things will lead or¬†when you will need information you have gathered. Data hoarder, maybe.

How long is long?
How long is long? This book is over 100 years old.

One definite advantage to digital notes is the ease in which that data may be shared. Another is the ease in searching through pages upon pages of notes for a specific piece of information. How about the ease in linking to other resources rather than copying that data, though this is a double edged sword. If data is not long-tail, it may not remain at its current location for very long. How long is long anyway? There is also the typographical concideration; typed notes are much more legible, by my hand anyway, than handwriting or printing.

Time for a little more research and thinking, the clock is ticking …

73,
~Jon KK6GXG