Just to whet the appetite!


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Sites of interest.

Two sites that you may find of interest.



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Desert Island Discs


If you fancy a listen to the archive of Desert Island Discs this is your chance. There are some jems in there.

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6 meter opening.

Enda (EI2II) has just been on to say that he is getting opeenings to EA athe moment on 6 meters. So if you have the lawn mowed and a few moments to spare in the hot wx give 6 a listen. 10 m. is also worth a listen. South America is there most afternoons and evenings. Congrats eo Enda, the othe evening I heard him working Bolivia. Envy does not cover it.

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Kepler telescope studies star superflares.


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Science and technology (via BBC)

Researchers have revealed details of a promising way to make a fundamentally different kind of computer memory chip.

The device is a “memristor”, a long-hypothesised but only recently demonstrated electronic component.

A memristor’s electronic properties make it suitable for both for computing and for far faster, denser memory.

Researchers at the European Materials Research Society meeting now say it can be made much more cheaply, using current semiconductor techniques.

There has been significant interest in memristors since the first prototype was unveiled in 2008, not least because it took 37 years for the device to make it from theoretical proposition to reality.

The name is a portmanteau of memory and resistor, because its resistance changes depending on how much current has passed through it; it “remembers” that value even after power is turned off.

The history-dependent nature of their electrical properties would make them able to carry out calculations, but most interest has focused on developing them for memory applications, to replace the widespread “flash” solid-state memory of USB sticks and memory cards.

“We’re reaching the limits of what we can do with flash memory in terms of increasing the storage density, and it’s also relatively high power and not as fast as we would like,” said Anthony Kenyon of University College London, UK.

However, researchers are still working to get memristor devices out of the laboratory and into consumer electronics. Hewlett-Packard, whose engineers demonstrated the first working memristor, already have plans to bring early memristor designs to market.

Current designs employ expensive or exotic materials, but a real memristor revolution could hinge on making them compatible with existing semiconductor technology, based overwhelmingly on silicon.

Memristors employing more “exotic” materials will probably make it into devices first
That would make them easy and cheap to integrate into existing manufacturing techniques.

Such attempts have been made before, but previous devices reported in a 2010 paper in Nano Letters were fairly delicate and worked only under vacuum.

Now, Dr Kenyon, his student Adnan Mehonic, and his colleagues from UCL, France and Spain have stumbled across a better way to make silicon memristors.

The team was working on silicon devices for LEDs when they accidentally discovered that a film of silicon oxide on their devices – which forms naturally when silicon is left out in air – behaved as memristors.

Mr Mehonic went on to study just what was going on inside the films, and the team recently published details of their findings in the Journal of Applied Physics.

What they have found is that their devices appear to significantly outperform existing solid-state “flash” memory.

As they described at this week’s conference, the energy required to switch the state of their devices – the energy it would take to store or retrieve a bit of information – is just a hundredth of that in existing flash memory, and significantly faster.

“Flash memory devices switch at 10,000 nanoseconds (billionths of a second) or so, and in our device we can’t measure how fast it is,” Dr Kenyon said.

“Our equipment only goes down to 90 nanoseconds. It’s at least as fast as that and probably faster.”

Though the team’s idea is a bit behind other more well developed memristor recipes, Dr Kenyon is hopeful the cheap and simple nature of their devices will make them industrially attractive.

“Discussions are at a early stage but we are talking to some fairly major names in the industry about taking this and commercialising it,” he said.

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May 24 is the anniversary of Samuel F.B. Morse’s first coded telegraph message.

The message was sent In 1844 between Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC — a distance of 41 miles. While this may not seem very significant in these days of world-wide communications, it was the seed that grew in the minds of forward-thinkers that has eventually brought us to these days of seeing images from around the world being brought to us in mere seconds and, of course, seeing man’s footprints on the moon.

Morse’s middle initials (FB), by the way, are not the source of Ham Radio’s “Fine Business.” It actually stands for Finley Breeze, a strange middle-name set but certainly no more strange than some of today’s name selections.

Also, it is not generally known but Morse was a very well-known artist in his time and many of his paintings are still on display in the Halls of Congress.

Reading Morse’s development of the Telegraph, it is easy to see that he was an experimenter that did not give up. Mistakes were made at first but the end result, one of eventual and great success, has left us a historical figure that deserves honor and respect.

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DXers Ride Marconi’s Wavelength

Would love to try this out again. Many years ago we had a very successful outing to Manin Bay south of Clifden. Sunspots a bit high at the moment but in a few years time Ithink I would like to rty it again.


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Radio Luxembourg

For those of us old enough to remember.
Radio 2 will be broadcasting a two part documentary about Radio Luxembourg on
May 31 and June 7 at 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.

BBC Media Centre has released details of the first part:


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Solar Activity.

TWO INCOMING CMEs: A pair of solar eruptions on May 7th hurled coronal masss ejections (CMEs) toward Earth. Forecast tracks prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab suggests that clouds with arrive in succession on May 9th at 13:40 UT and May 10th at 07:54 UT (+/- 7 hours). The double impact could spark moderate geomagnetic storms. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Magnetic storm alerts: text, phone.

CORONAL HOLE: A dark hole in the sun’s atmosphere (a ‘coronal hole’) is spewing a stream of solar wind toward Earth. The impact of the stream, expected on May 9-11, could add to the effect of the incoming CMEs, boosting the chances of strong geomagnetic activity later this week. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory took this picture of the opening on May 8th:

Coronal holes are places where the sun’s global magnetic field opens up and allows some of the sun’s atmosphere to escape. The outflow of gas is the solar wind. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of geomagnetic activity on May 9-10 when the stream arrives (along with the CMEs of May 7th).

BIG SUNSPOT: One of the largest sunspot groups in years rotated over the sun’s northeastern limb on May 6th. With a least four dark cores larger than Earth, AR1476 sprawls more than 100,000 km from end to end, and makes an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. Amateur astronomer Alan Friedman sends this picture of the behemoth from his backyard in Buffalo, NY:

“AR1476 is firecrackler,” says Friedman.

Indeed, the active region is crackling with impulsive M-class solar flares. Based on the sunspot’s complex ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field, NOAA forecasters estimate a 75% chance of more M-flares during the next 24 hours. There is also a 10% chance of powerful X-flares.

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