My speech enabled radio project and other stuff
As I blogged about previously, I have a new WinRadio WR-G305e. This radio is phenomenal and I love the control that the interface gives me. Reception was lousy at first as the only antenna I had was the test antenna that came with it and it was strung out across the floor. My house is metal framed and reception with an indoor antenna really stinks. I ordered a Par End Fedz from Grove Enterprise and it has made a world of difference. Right now I just run the antenna out a window and stretch it across the front yard but the changes in my reception has been unbelievable. I've listened to hams on 80 meters, SW stations from as far away as Maine and the Canadian time signals on CHU. That is a 10kw signal on 7335 kHz originating in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. This may not seem important to you but it really brings back memories for me.
If you read my previous posts you know know that I intend to speech enable this radio and broadcast the stations to the Internet using streaming audio. This won't be a quick project as I have to get my antennas mounted up in the air then start experimenting with the API for the WinRadio. With everything I have going on right now it isn't my highest priority project but rather one that I intend on plugging away at in my spare time. I really don't have a choice but to follow through with this project as the guys over at Wireless Speech Recognition.. picked up on my blog post and blogged about it. Nothing like a little pressure to keep you honest.
Yesterday I took my youngest son (9yrs old) to a local Hamfest put on by the North Florida Amateur Radio Society. A Hamfest is just a big garage sale or flea market for hams. You can find all sorts of new and used equipment along with some great conversations and story telling at these events. I bought my son an Eton FR300 for $20 and it was probably the best money I ever spent. He was so excited the whole time we were there and told me several times that it was the best day of his life and that he wants to go back next year.
Radio $20. BBQ for lunch $15. Time spent with my son - priceless.
One of the hams that was present gave me a National NCX-3 80, 40 and 20 meter SSB transceiver. This radio was built in the early to mid 60s and was a very good receiver when it was new. I'm excited to own this as I do have a fondness for old equipment. In those days radios looked like radios with none of the digital display stuff and cheap plastic you see today. Those old radios also had tubes in them instead of transistors or printed circuits and the warm glow from the tubes was all part of the magic.
Yesterday wasn't without it's sad moments too. I was really touched by some of the older gentlemen that were present. Some of these guys have been in the hobby for over 40 years and there is a lot of history wrapped up in them. It really saddened me to think about what we will lose when then these guys pass on. For some of them their families have no interest or understanding of the hobby and the heritage (plus the small fortune in some cases) that they have wrapped up in their equipment. I may just be sentimental but I hate to see all the history that will slip away when these guys become silent keys.