ARRL

News

Surfin’: Hammin’, Hackin’ and GPSin’

06/17/2011

By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor

This week, Surfin’ considers hacking ham radio projects and one thing leads to another.

Hack a Day rightfully claims that it “serves up fresh hacks each day, every day from around the web, as well as hacking related news.” Occasionally, the hacks are ham radio specific. Oftentimes, the hacks are in the ham radio neighborhood.

A recent example of the former include turning a Linksys WRT54g router into an APRS gateway, and Trackuino -- an Open Source Arduino APRS tracker.

Recent examples of the latter include reverse engineering wireless a weather station, and GPS without GPS.

The hacks that have nothing to do with ham radio are interesting, too, so I visit Hack a Day regularly (and you should, too).

Speaking of hacks, I recently obtained some HamStack kits that I wrote about here in my post-Hamvention wrap-up. I am digesting the documentation while I figure out how best to use the kits in a cool ham radio application .

And speaking of GPS, there may not be any light at the end of the tunnel -- which is a good thing. I wrote here back in April how GPS may be negatively affected by the new LightSquared nationwide broadband wireless network that uses the airwaves next to those used for GPS.

Urgent Communications reported that a final report that LightSquared and the US Global Positioning System Industry Council delivered to the FCC on Wednesday (June 15) confirms that the new network will cause interference with GPS receivers and furthermore, there is “a huge gap between LightSquared and the GPS community concerning whether a technical fix to solve the interference issue is feasible. Reportedly, the GPS community now is saying that the FCC should move LightSquared to different spectrum as there is no viable technical fix.”

That is promising news -- as long as the “different spectrum” is not ours!

Until next time, keep on surfin’!

Editor’s note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, recalls when “hack” only referred to a cough or a taxi cab, as in “I was hacking in a hack.” To contact Stan, send e-mail or add comments to the WA1LOU blog.



Back