Friday, September 28, 2007

Global Warming and Milankovitch Cycles

New Scientist has published a second article reporting on several studies which support the theory that global warming is not due to man-made CO2 but that it is instead due to slight changes in Earth's orientation toward the sun can cause it to cool or warm in so-called Milankovitch cycles. Milankivitch cycles and other similar phenomenon describe variations in the Earth's axis as well as the extend of spherical vs elliptical shape of the Earth's orbit around the sun. Since the Southern Hemisphere's surface is comprised of more water than the Northern Hemisphere, if the Earth is tilted so, that the Southern Hemisphere receives more light, then the global oceans will warm to a greater extent.

The famous Artic and Antartic ice-core temperature/CO2 data mis-used by Al Gore in his "An Inconvenient Truth" docudrama clearly shows that CO2 elevations lag 800 years behind elevations in ocean temperature. This clearly suggests that as the oceans warmed by another mechanism, the warmer water disolved less CO2 which was released into the atmosphere. When the cause of ocean warming stopped, the atmospheric CO2 disolved back into the ocean.

These recent studies suggest that Milankovitch cycles are the main driver of global warming. Yes, we shouldn't pollute and yes, we should become more energy independent, but we need to be careful when the UN tries to tell us that all scientists are unified in the opinion that man-made Co2 is the cause of global warming. The UN was clearly trying to take advantage of an environmental issue to dictate global policy.

Friday, September 21, 2007

2 Meter VHF HT Handheld Ground Plane, Tiger Tail, Lambda Wire Antenna

I have been an Amateur Radio or "HAM" radio operator for over 2o years. My call sign is KB7BXP. I was about 10 or 11 when I first got into the hobby. However, I haven't been active in the hobby for the last 12-15 years until the last couple months. I needed something to do while making a long 1 1/2-hr commute. Amateur radio has been the perfect answer to keep me awake on the long drive home after a 12-hour shift.

The first radio I purchased was the Yaesu VX-170 2-Meter Handheld or HT. This is a great little radio. However it comes with the traditional "Rubber Duck" antenna that has only marginal performance. I also purchased a 5/8 Mag-mount external antenna to use while I drive. But I wanted to extend the performance of my HT while using the radio around the house or when walking around town or the neighborhood.

That's when I read about a simple little antenna modification that greatly increases the receive and transmit capability of any handheld radio. This antenna modification is referred to as a "Tiger tail," "Rat Tail," Lambda wire, ground plane, or counterpoise antenna. This modification simply comprises a 1/4 wave length of wire attached to the body or base of the antenna in some fashion. After a quick trip to the Walmart Automotive section and 10 minutes of cutting and crimping, the project was complete and the results speak for themselves. The following pictures describe the project.

Needed Supplies:

Wire Cutting, Stripping, and Crimping Tool.
Spool 12-gauge automotive electrical wire.
Package automotive electrical ring connectors.

Making the Antenna:
Cut one or odd number of 1/4-wave lengths of wire.
Strip 1/4 cm of outer plastic sheath from one end.
Place stripped end into ring connector and crimp yellow plastic section X 2.

2-Meter 1/4-wave at 146 MHz = 20 1/4 in. But anything close such as 19 1/4 or more will work.

Connecting Antenna:

Attach ground plane wires to base of SMA connector or from belt clip screw on back of radio chassis or battery case.

Any kind of wire can do. I have also used twin-lead speaker wire and attached 3 1/4-wave wires to one ring connector.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Emergency Essentials

The following Costco products help to meet the food, water, and emergency supply requirements requested by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services.