Apple II

Exploring Antenna Gain Directionality

May 17, 2022 Big Mess o' Wires

For the past week BMOW has been busy experimenting with HF radio communication on the 40m and 20m bands, 7 and 14 MHz. With the right radio, antenna, and weather conditions, these frequencies can support direct communication with someone halfway around the world. I haven’t managed to do that yet, …

Apple II

Learn Morse Code for Fun and Profit

April 27, 2022 Big Mess o' Wires

Today is Morse Code Day! You might be surprised to learn that CW (the modern term for Morse) is still widely used in certain corners of the amateur radio universe, not for nostalgia reasons, but because it’s still the best solution to a particular problem. If you want a …

Apple II

Intentional Unintentional RF for Sneaky CW Transmissions

April 21, 2022 Big Mess o' Wires

An unintentional radiator is a device that emits radio frequency signals, even though it’s not intended to. Usually this happens as a result of poor circuit design or inadequate shielding, and it’s a problem. For sneaky purposes, an unintentional radiator can also be used intentionally to send a weak …

Apple II

Don’t Cook Yourself With RF Energy

April 13, 2022 Big Mess o' Wires

I’m getting ready to install a radio antenna on my home’s roof, and hoping to avoid hurting myself or anybody else in the process. While falling off the roof may be the most obvious risk, a less obvious concern is the radio frequency energy from the antenna when it’s …

Apple II

International Space Station Downlink!

April 12, 2022 Big Mess o' Wires

I downlinked a data transmission directly from the International Space Station! This amateur radio stuff is getting exciting. Using an orbital tracker tool, I found the time and location when the ISS would pass overhead here. From 9:16 AM to 9:21 AM, rising to the south, reaching its zenith …

Apple II

Yellowstone Future Forecast

April 11, 2022 Big Mess o' Wires

BMOW’s new Yellowstone Universal Disk Controller for Apple II computers has been popular in its first month of release. At the time of its announcement, I warned that parts supply constraints might make this the one and only manufacturing run of Yellowstone cards. That forecast now looks increasingly likely. …

Big Mess o' Wires
Apple II

My First Amateur Ham Radio Contact Attempt

March 21, 2022 Big Mess o' Wires

My new interest in amateur radio is taking off. After a couple of weeks studying, I took the ham Tech and General license exams on Saturday, and passed them both. Today the FCC updated their license database and created a new call sign for me, which means I can now …

Apple II

Now Available: Yellowstone Universal Disk Controller for Apple II

March 18, 2022 Big Mess o' Wires

It’s finally here! After more than four years in development, I’m pleased to announce that BMOW’s Yellowstone Universal Disk Drive Controller for Apple II is available and shipping now. Yellowstone combines the power of an Apple 3.5 Disk Controller Card, a standard 5.25 inch (Disk II) controller card, the …

Apple II

BMOW Tries Amateur Radio

March 8, 2022 Big Mess o' Wires

How do older electronics nerds have fun? With an amateur radio license, of course! Some recent conversations with friends spurred me to learn more about ham radio operation, and I threw myself into studying. I’m now scheduled to take the technician and general class license exams back-to-back on March …