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Thursday, September 11, 2008

RIT Crew Fall Season

We've started classes for the Fall quarter here at RIT and I have started my first year as a Varsity rower for RIT Crew. Early morning practices (before dawn) work a lot better with schedules and its great to have so much competition between all the boats. Being on the shorter side, it's daunting to be competing for a seat in the varsity boats but I feel that it's a goal that I can reach. If this year continues on its path, RIT is going to have some fast boats!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

dynDNS deleted my account for KB1LQC Website

So apparently the account I had redirecting to my website at was deleted for no reason. I apologize if anyone wanted to see some projects or whatnot and could not view them. The site will go down while I move back to Rochester Institute of Technology at the end of the month. I hope to set up a .com while there and will probably buy a domain name. Thanks to the open RIT network they should allow a DNS server so I can do this. At home Comcast does not allow personal DNS servers on a home account and in order to host from my house I must buy a comcast business account... not happening!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's Been a While

It has been a while since I have last posted. I have been home and very busy! Like I would actually sleep even while not at school haha, I'm still working on projects into the late hours of the night! So far I have taken on the immense task of researching the RIT Amateur Radio Club history as the newly appointed club historian. Since I started I have found out a lot of information that was lost over the years! More can be found on the K2GXT website history section when I update it (probably sometime in September, I want to put up most of the information at once).

As for other projects, I am now hosting a website off of an old Pentium II computer! Comcast does not allow a DNS server on home users so until I get back to RIT I cannot have a ".com" but the website is located at I am slowly updating it, working full time and designing some cool projects takes up a good amount of my day! I will eventually get everything on there.

Right now I am designing a Sofware Defined Radio! It's almost done! After taking a class about digital circuits I feel that I have enough knowledge to tackle this type of radio. Before this projects I have only worked with analog (still my favorite!) circuits. Recent redesigns of the circuit have really improved its performance and soon I will be printing and etching my own PC boards!

As the academic year approaches at RIT I will start updating the blog more! If there is any interest in any of these topics please comment and I will try my best to answer.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Finals Week

Well It's finals week and its been pretty crazy. I will update the blog when I get back home this weekend!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

New York State Championships

I am currently in Whitney Point, NY at the New York State Championships. I raced in the Mens Novice 8 in the second heat against Merist, Ithaca, and Buffalo. We came in third and qualified for the Grand Finals tomorrow (Sunday May 4, 2008). We raced today in conditions that were rougher than we are used to on the Genessee River. There was a strong headwind and the waves were very high. I had at least four waves that totally drenched me during the race. It went well and we are happy that we put our all into it.

Were getting ready to race in the Grand Finals in the morning against Merist, Ithaca, University of Rochester, Army, and Hobart. Were ready to fight for a medal!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Web-Based Software Defined Radio

Well it's been a crazy quarter... super busy and just making me crave summer more and more! Onto what I want to talk about now! I was informed of an online web based Software Defined Radio for anyone to use. It allows multiple users of the radio on different frequencies which an uncommon ability for online radios.

The radio is located is located at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. It allows anyone to monitor a portion of the 40 meter and 80 meter amateur radio bands. You can use it to monitor morse code conversation, PSK31, other digital modes, and SSB. It is a very fun project to use and makes me want to finally experiment with software defined radio this summer! Follow the link to access the web-based receiver!




Saturday, April 19, 2008

Busy Spring Quarter, Sprint Racing With RIT Crew

So the spring quarter is insane with the sprint season for RIT Crew. I am really trying to keep my grades up and row. Most of my weekends are gone, traveling for races so the time to do homework has shrunk even more! In addition to the craziness, the Engineering House (NRH 8) sprinklers went off, flooding my floor. I've been really behind in my work because of it, but I am slowly catching up. Thats why I haven't been updating the blog recently.

So right now I am in Worcester, MA for the weekend at a hotel. I am racing WPI, RPI, and Tufts University on Sunday morning in a 2000M Sprint on Lake Quinsigamong. It's great to be near my hometown, Massachusetts is awesome and I can't wait to relax over the summer!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

K2GXT: Henry 2K-3 Linear Amplifier Restoration

After almost selling the clubs Henry 2K-3 legal limit (1.5 KW), we have decided to fix it up at use it. The Henry is from the late 60's to 70's and is a floor amplifier. It uses two 3-500Z tubes to produce 1,500 watts in the HF bands easily.

We know that there are a few problems.

  • Panel Meter (right) is missing.
  • High Voltage is low @ 2,100 volts (should be between 2,800 and 3,100 volts)
    • Possibly an uncalibrated meter, or a mix of both
I will post pictures and other info as we get more information! Stay tuned for more updates about the project!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Beginning of Spring Quarter, Sprint Season, RIT Solar

Last week was spring break for RIT and I went to Cocoa Beach, FL with RIT Crew to train. It was amazing! I had never been more south than Pennsylvania, making the trip that much better! We did a lot of rowing and land practice. I never knew that I could get up at 6am and be tired enough to practically fall unconscious at 9pm.

I was rowing in a "four" which was a nice change from the eight. We rowed in the ocean and had many new experiences from that. On the first day of practice, the novice eight I was rowing in (didn't practice in the four until Tuesday or Wednesday) was going down a channel we used because it was nice and straight for about 3 Km. During this morning practice, we got to row alongside a dolphin! Some people might not find that cool but it was only 15 or so feet away and was really cool to me.

I got to try surfing, go to a Ron Jon's surf shop, see palm tree's (only saw them in movies before that!), and other fun activities. We were not the only crew down their either, alongside us was WPI, Fairfield University, Holy Cross, and Northeastern University. We left Cocoa beach Friday morning to head to Aiken South Carolina for SERCS (South East Rowing Collegiats) which took 10 hours! We got lost in the middle of Georgia for about four hours.

We didn't get to row in Aiken, SC because we got their too late on Friday and the race was canceled due to high winds on Saturday March 8, 2008. I did get to see family that lives in Georgia that I have not seen in a few years so it was very worthwhile and fun even though I was really bummed that we didn't get to race.

Spring Quarter

Spring quarter is definitely going to be tough, I am already very busy and it's only week one. We are having more demanding practices due to Spring season being the sprint racing season for RIT Crew. With the demanding EE curriculum, RIT Crew, clubs like K2GXT, and Imagine RIT, this quarter is going to fly by and I'm holding on so far. I managed to do pretty well Winter quarter and really surprised myself with my grades on final! Those were some well earned grades, no matter what they were!

RIT Solar

We are working on our Imagine RIT project now. I found out that even though I will be helping with designing, finding funds, and building the project, I will most likely not be able to go present at Imagine RIT. This is due to the NYS Championships in Whitney Point, NY on the same day of May 3, 2008. As enthusiastic and devoted to the project as I am, I will NOT let RIT Crew and myself down by skipping the race for the show. The team and I have trained hard enough, gone through our share of pain with winter training on the ergs, and will be going through much more in the coming months to back down.

We are currently designing a prototype "proof-of-concept" open loop solar hot water system. We will build it and display it with other materials. We are almost done determining our costs and will be actively searching for some sort of funding. This project is not just a science fair exhibit, we want to raise awareness of this technology and influence the institute to implement solar hot water on campus. Keep watching this blog for the link to our website that will document the progress and updates to the solar hot water project!

That is about as much time as I want to devote to the blog, unfortunately I would love to add more but must get more work done. Thanks for reading my blog, I hope it is interesting and informative about what is happening at RIT!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

RIT Solar Hot Water

I am on Spring break finally! The last two weeks were two of the most stressful and sleep deprived weeks I have ever been through. Now that I am done I want to share our progress on the RIT Solar Hot Water project.

Our group presented on Friday February 15, 2008 to our FYE (First Year Experience) class. The presentation went very well and we were congratulated on all our hard work. The FYE instructor said that it was one of the best presentations that she had seen in FYE! She also suggested that we continue on to Imagine RIT!

We did just that! We are officially going to be presenting at Imagine RIT on May 3, 2008. We will be choosing our location on campus soon. The event is free and open to the public; RIT is expecting roughly 30,000 people to attend. The bad part is that I may not be there to present the project at the festival. New York State Championships for rowing is being held that day in Whitney Point, NY and if I am in a boat for that race I will be there. While I would love to attend Imagine, I have been training with RIT Crew for those championship races and do not want to let the team down. Again, I might not be in a boat for that particular day and therefore could attend the festival.

At Imagine RIT we plan on having a visual presentation explaining our concept with more detail and data for an actual installation of a solar hot water system. We also want to build a small solar collector and circulation tank system to show the process of heating water with solar energy. This will only be a proof-of-concept system, if we installed a system on campus it would be professionally built and installed.

We will be starting as soon as possible to raise funding for our project. The solar collector system will cost a good amount of money (at least to college students!) so we want to find sponsors to help with the costs. If anyone reading the blog knows of a company or someone that is willing to help a school project please contact me (my email should be in my profile) and we can talk more about what needs to be done.

The goal of this project is to research the best possible initial installation of a solar hot water project on the RIT campus, present it to the campus, community, and administration, and get a system installed on campus. We are really striving to get this project installed and are working to obtain that goal.

Any support we get will and has motivated us to continue our project. Fitting in the time to do this project is a challenge to all of us. However, we are all passionate about seeing results on campus. Thank you for reading my blog, watching the presentation slide show, and your support for our project.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Finals Week

It's finals week, that explains it all... Studying... well until then feel free to contact me on AIM with the Digsby widget on the left sidebar of the blog. Digsby is an instant message client developed by an RIT alumni company, its in beta testing with RIT students!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Survived Week 10

Wow, I survived week 10. This week was the most insane week I have ever been through here at RIT. I studied like crazy for my physics and calculus tests, I also had an evironmental studies finals and a crew 2k test. From Sunday morning through Thursday morning (3am?) I slept about 7 hours, watched the sun rise twice from the college of science! Onto finals week, lots of studying this weekend after some well needed sleep. After that, spring break in Florida with RIT Crew! Tons of rowing and maybe I will get a chance to visit the Kennedy Space Center... my tech side showing on that comment. I'll post about the solar project when I get a chance to write up a story, I'm still writing up physics labs at the moment!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Week 10 at RIT

Well it's week 10 here at RIT and that means it's the LAST week of classes, exams are week 11. I will try and update the blog when I can, I have some great news about the RIT Solar project! Unfortunately if I tried to write something now I wouldn't be able to put much effort into it so I will wait until more time is available.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

School Club Roundup 2008 - Day 1

School Club Roundup is an annual contest that is aimed for school amateur radio clubs. I started participating in it when my brother Brent and I founded the Chelmsford High School Amateur Radio Club KB1NAY in 2005. Click on the name of this post to find out more info about the contest.

RIT Amateur Radio Club K2GXT Daily Dispatch:

11:46 PM, Monday, February 11, 2008

Operating Hours: 4.34
Voice Contacts: 1
Digital Contacts: 1
Current Score: 9

1 State Contacted:

1 Radio Club Contacted:

So we didn't have much luck. We are pretty sure that our G5RV is "dead" we are in the process of building an Off Center Fed Dipole to replace it (I will post my power point presentation on a later post). Our beam is only made for 20 meters (14 MHz) and higher, it will tune on 40 but we haven't had much luck with that.

The best option we have might be to get on 20 meters during the day and operate, we will see how that works out! Good luck to all those who are participating!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

RIT: Orange, Brown, and Green?

With President Destler running campus this year, he is apparently pushing to make RIT a "greener" campus. From the President's website, he is trying to initiate a movement to produce "...the nation's first "Innovation University"..." by hosting the "Imagine RIT" creativity festival that aims to attract about 30,000 people from the Rochester area.

RIT recently launched the Golisano Institute for Sustainability which from what I can reason would be a stepping stone to "greening" RIT. So with the buzz on campus for a more sustainable outlook to life and industry practices, what better time than now to help out?

I am part of a First Year Enrichment group that is designing a renewable energy alternative for RIT. Our project simply started with an idea for the class project and has grown into an interest to see if our idea is feasible to be implemented on campus.

Our group is researching the idea of providing some of the hot water used in a couple dorms with solar hot water. Hot water is one of the most energy demanding commodities used during the day. According to Solar Roofs, the average electric home water heater can use more energy than the average car per year; only by a little bit, but never-the-less a surprising reality.

Solar hot water is used to pre-heat the water before it enters the water boilers. This reduces the temperature difference that the water heater needs to use energy to heat the water. Groundwater is typically 45 F and the average hot water temperature is roughly 110 F, a difference of 65 F. Even with a solar hot water system that brings the temperature of the water to 50 F during the winter on a cold day, is still saving the energy used to heat the water by 5 F. During the summer, a system could bring the water up to 110 F and provide a relatively large percentage of the hot water during peak usage.

We are working on our final presentation for class and will then, time permitting, push this further and try to gain some support from campus. As I said before, this is a personal interest among the group members. We are only required to provide an outline for class, and we are already computing statistics and other data such as cost. Being Electrical Engineering majors, we are running off of our enthusiasm and hope to learn more from this project while being able to at least stir some interest among the community here on campus.

If there are any comments on this, please feel free to share them!

Friday, February 1, 2008

The K2GXT Clubroom Is Becoming Quite The Station!

The efforts to renovate and set up the club room below the SAU (Student Alumni Union), have made strides of progress. We have added new equipment and the room is turning into a place that is fun to hang out in!

We have received new(er) computers that are much faster than the old ones including LCD flatscreen monitors to replace the old, cumbersome, RF emitting CRT monitors. The computers are being loaded with amateur radio software at the moment. We are installing programs such as:

DX Lab Suite:
-DX Keeper
-DX Viewer
-Spot Collector

Other software such as:

-Pidgin (AIM)
-Alt/Azi rotor control software
-Much more as we get a chance

The room was also furnished with several workbenches, I am pretty sure they are from the Freshman Electrical Engineering Labs, but they are NICE! The main benefits are that they do not come out as far into the room, creating more walk space and they are heavy duty.

So if any student or faculty on campus walks by and the door is open, feel free to stop and find out what K2GXT is all about. After posting this blog on " The College Blog Network" I know there are student from campus reading it and would greatly appreciate feedback or questions about any topics I may post.

Thank you for the interest in K2GXT, reading the blog, and I hope you enjoy the updates about the many activities here at RIT!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

K2GXT: The RIT Blimp

On Friday January 18, 2008 K2GXT RIT Amateur Radio Club flew a remote controlled blimp during the RIT vs. Sacred Heart hockey game. This is the first time the blimp has flown in about five years. The blimp was constructed in conjunction with RIT Aero Club and students (including K2GXT Members such as KC2LLT).

The RIT amateur radio club decided to resurrect the blimp and fly it during the hockey games again. We practiced flying before the game and planned to operate during intermissions between periods. The 12 foot blimp has roughly 3 oz of lift when filled with helium and has a 20 minute battery life. The batteries are recharged during the game when we are not flying.

When we first flew the blimp it was a great success, people absolutely LOVED it! The blimp was flown around the Ritter Ice Arena in a counter clockwise fashion, occasionally flying close to the ice. We apparently had fun "buzzing" Stu, the Zamboni driver after the game who had just about as much fun himself. While flying, we had some unexpected trouble that we did not experience while practicing. During the game, the air conditioning system was on and every few minutes our blimp would be thrown around by the air currents. This made flying the blimp very difficult during those times, especially with the turning and elevation control delay inherent with blimps.

We will be continuing to fly the blimp in future games and possibly other events around the RIT campus. We have plans to install amateur television equipment (ATV) and provide aerial video of the game, possibly down linking the video feed to ESPN Sportszone. K2GXT is committed to being an active club that benefits the RIT community with its actions.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

First Year Enrichment Project

My second quarter First Year Enrichment (FYE) teacher posed a nice challenge to us electrical engineering majors. We need to come up with an idea for an "Imagine RIT" display/idea for the upcoming festival in May 2008. We were not required to sign up for the event, rather complete proposals and if we want to, create a display for the festival.

The group I am in has decided on an idea that hit me over winter break as a technology that could be implemented at RIT. I have always had a keen interest in renewable energy and resources, so the idea benefits RIT and the environment in some way! I do not want to go into it with too much detail until our project is completed and we decide if we want to go further onto the festival.

We will try to propose to the RIT community on a way to use a solar based renewable energy source to provide a vital resource on campus with much more efficiency than is experienced now. Whether we go to the festival or not, we are taking it serious and have already contacted faculty to provide information needed to complete the project. If we do decided to build a small prototype to demonstrate the concept at the "Imagine RIT" we will seriously try to gain support and a backing to implement the technology.