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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Biking at RIT and Home

This is a collection of short clips and some pictures of my brother and I biking at a local state park and at RIT. We were more or less just messing around at the state park and on campus we tend to ride urban!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

CQWWCW 2007 Contest

I played around in the CQWWCW (CQ World Wide CW(Morse code)) contest this weekend. It is a Morse code contest for amateur radio. The object is to contact as many stations as possible, preferably from another country. It ran from 00:00 UTC Saturday (7pm Friday for EST) until 23:59 UTC Monday (7pm Sunday Night). I didn't contest, instead I relaxed and got as many contacts as I could with my station under no pressure. I did decent for only operating a few hours with my QRP radio that I bring to RIT.

My radio is a Ten Tec 1340 QRP CW Transceiver running about 3 watts into an 80 Meter Off-Center-Fed-Dipole (OCFD) that I built over the summer. The radio operates in the 40 Meter band (7 MHz) and is a kit that I built about a year ago.

The radio has a few modifications. I installed a NORCAL Keyer to allow me to use a paddle and electronically create the dit's and dah's, a lot faster than a straight key. I also modified the output coax connector from the standard PL-259 (UHF) connector to a better BNC-type connector. This required some metal work to make a new mounting bracket, the hole was to large from the PL-259 previously installed. My paddles are homemade NB6M PC-Board paddles, my favorite mostly because I built them from scratch, but they do work incredibly nice and is designed for portable use.

This is all powered by a modified PC-Power supply. I wired it up to put out an even 12V at about 7 amps max (the regulator IC would not go up to 13.8V! Maybe I'll get around to modifying the circuit). Normally, PC Power supplies are noisy switch-mode power supplies, and oh boy... it was! I modified the output by putting massive inductors from old DMC microwave radio power supplies in series on each output (+12V,-12V,+5V,-5V) and a 6000uf capacitor to ground from the output I am using. Worked like a charm! There is little noticeable hum on the power supply and I do not get any comments on my signal about a hum, problem solved!

So the contest went really well, I enjoyed the low power operation and simply using Morse code. If anyone happens to have any questions or wants to know more about the Ten Tec 1340 and it's modifications just leave a comment! Questions about the Off-Center-Fed-Dipole and amateur radio are also more than welcome!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

So during Thanksgiving Break I've been playing around....

During Thanksgiving Break (two weeks, THANKS RIT! lol) I've decided in true RIT spirit to install Linux onto my laptop. I'm not a big computer person, I don't play video games... the best program I ever wrote said "Hello World"... etc. I enjoy the freedom assiociated with it, i just came too close to throwing my laptop out the 8th floor window of my dorm way too many times when Vista crashed. So I started with Fedora 8, dual booting it with Windows Vista (fresh install).

Fedora was a little tricky for me, I guess the Linux learning curve was a little to steep for me. So I switched to Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon". After spending hours with Fedora and Ubuntu getting my NVIDIA GeForce 8400GS graphics card drivers installed. I could enable desktop effects in Fedora 8 and Compiz in Ubunto. I set up compiz to true RIT fashion! Supporting RIT Crew (I'm an RIT Crew member), and Engineering House, the special interest house I live in.

Learning to install programs and such has been a huge issue but finally getting more familiar with terminal commands and things like that... again I'm not a geek about computers, this was really really really hard for me to learn!

So throughout the duration of my break, I will be learning to use Ubunto, setting it up to my likes, and most importantly... having fun doing things that don't involve computers!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

K2GXT Repeater Antenna Installation and Echolink

On Saturday November 10,2007 the RIT Amateur Radio Club K2GXT installed a new 2 meter band (144-148MHz) antenna on top of Ellingson Hall. We did this in conjunction with WITR 89.7 who had to shut down their 1000 watt transmitter while we were up there. We are installing this antenna for eventual use in the 2 meter repeater we are currently building. The antenna, coax, and duplexer were installed during this event. The repeater is being built by RIT students and members of K2GXT as a club project. This repeater will be open for use to all licensed amateur radio operators, visit the ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League) for more information of obtaining an amateur radio license. The 70 cm repeater that is currently in operation on Ellingson Hall was connected to Echolink after the installation.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

RIT: End of the First Quarter

Well RIT a.k.a "Brick City" is an amazing place to be, I have never had a chance to be bored. The first quarter alone has been fast paced and ultimately challenging. Finals week is next week, It's 4am on Wednesday morning on the last week of classes, and I've been working on an essay of Winston Churchill for hours.

The academics have been great. My College Chemistry class is challenging but also taught very well by Professor Collison. Writing Seminar as been a laid back learn to write in college, lets have great conversations type coarse. Calculus A has been my biggest struggle, I love math, well to a degree... but have always struggled at it. The past weekend I spent about 12 hours studying for a test the following Monday. It payed off! The course instructor Olles is a great math teacher with skill in showing every possible way to solve a problem, tons of examples. Modern European History is well history, its somewhat interesting, but there is a reason I'm studying engineering! Finally, Freshman Practicum for Electrical Engineering has been a great class, haven't learned all that much, I've already done a lot of my own building above the scope of the class, but its fun to play around with circuits none-the-less.

Engineering House has been a great adventure and has provided a community to live in. It really helps the social experience of college when we have a unified floor to live on. Our doors are always open when we are on floor, constantly hanging out with each other. Gracie's and Commons runs as we call them, get a large number of us to eat together. RIT would not be as much of an adventure without the experience.

RIT Crew, one of the best decisions I made when I got here. I am proud to have earned a seat in the Mens novice boat, seat 2. I row port and have raced once in the Wiley Coyote Chase Regatta on the Genesee River. We won 3rd overall but 1st in our division! Crew is a physically as well as challenging sport, the type of sport I love. The friendships and bonds from being a part of the crew team are irreplacable. Crew is simply amazing!

Overall, I have come to a conclusion that RIT is NOT a dead campus. It's been reiterated to me countless times. Rochester Institute of Technology offers students activities and opportunities to partake in. RIT students need to take advantage of them! As a student who is almost done with the first quarter, I am glad I decided to attend RIT!

-1Bryce Salmi


Engineering Ethics

Engineering is an incredibly vital asset to society and the human race alike. As engineers, we will be designing the forefront technology that will drive the world into the inevitable future. In our hands rests America’s dignity and economic state. As future engineers we hold the responsibility to hold up to a code of ethics that allow us to make respectable decisions in the workplace.

The IEEE is the organization that represent the largest number of engineers in the world. The IEEE code of ethics provides guidelines for many situations that engineers might find themselves in:

  1. to accept responsibility in making decisions consistent with the safety, health and welfare of the public, and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the environment;

  2. to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest whenever possible, and to disclose them to affected parties when they do exist;

  3. to be hones and realistic in stating claims or estimates based on available data;

  4. to reject bribery in all its forms;

  5. to improve the understanding of technology, its appropriate application, and potential consequences;

  6. to maintain and improve our technical competence and to undertake technological tasks for others only if qualified by training or experience, or after full disclosure of pertinent limitations;

  7. to seek, accept, and offer honest criticism of technical work, to acknowledge and correct errors, and to credit properly the contribution of others;

  8. to treat fairly all persons regardless of such factors as race, religion, gender, disability, age, or national origin;

  9. to avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false or malicious action;

  10. to assist colleagues and co-workers in their professional development and to support them in following this code of ethics.

The most important code of ethics listed is in fact the first code. Decision making not only affects the person making the decision, but also the general public and environment. An electrical engineer should never decided to skimp out on a design and not place important safety features like proper grounding and fusing in the circuit being designed. Whether it is just ignorance or cost-cutting features, it is unethical and dangerous. Many house fires could be started by the faulty design or worse, death.

An electrical engineer would never use components that endanger the environment if possible. It would be a wise decision to choose a non lead based component otherwise known as ROHS compliant over cheaper lead based parts. This is not critical because it is not a set standard yet, but rather a wise precautionary move on an engineers part.

In conclusion, ethical decisions not only better the world, they keep personal dignity and respect in the industry. Making an unethical decision could result in regret and a tarnished reputation. This could lead to increased difficulty obtaining jobs in the future. A reputation can provide a lifetime of opportunities, keep them open.