HackRF One, SDR#, WSPR and virtual audio cable

I bought a HackRF One SDR recently. The first thing I wanted to do is to try WSPR, which checks for other WSPR beacons to help monitor propagation paths.

I set this up using the free SDR software SDR# and another software virtual audio cable to connect the two.

That much was easy enough, but I have not had a single connection, running it for a bit over a week. WSPR frequenctly says it’s decoding, but nothing pans out. I am using the antenna that comes with the HackRF, which isn’t great but I hear others have had success with it.

I probably have something set up wrong still. I think I need to use CW mode in SDR# for WSPR but have not actually found confirmation for this anywhere. Since it’s not working it’s likely wrong :-)

people who back into parking spots

Last March I went to a presentation at Lyncrest Airport on electric transportation in cars and, more unusually, airplanes. I arrived a bit late and most people had already arrived. I noticed that an unusually large proportion of vehicles were backed in.

Unusual proportion of parked vehicles that are backed in
Unusual proportion of parked vehicles that are backed in

I am a big fan of backing into parking spots. You can maneuver in smaller spaces when the steered wheels are able to move rather than being constrained by being already in the narrow spot. You go backwards into the space where not a lot is going on, and when you need to leave and join traffic you are going forward where you can see. I can’t think of any disadvantages. Yet, the majority of people don’t. I don’t really understand that, although I can think of a few snarky comments.

It made me wonder what makes this crowd different. I think I asked a few people, but no one else seemed excited about this.

A Canadian Law?

Canada has a law that can put you in prison for blasphemous libel. The definition of blasphemy includes “irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable” and “the act of claiming the attributes of a deity”.
So, apparently they could lock me up for saying “Holy me!” if a trier of facts considered that blasphemy and I were not, in good faith, attempting to establish an argument that we would be better off without this law.

Section 296 of the Canadian Criminal Code - Blasphemous Libel
Section 296 of the Canadian Criminal Code – Blasphemous Libel

random noise maker

Sparkfun's MP3 trigger in case on the actuator mechanism for the random noise maker.
Sparkfun’s MP3 trigger in case on the actuator mechanism for the random noise maker

Someone asked me to build a gadget that will randomly play one of 4 sounds when a cord is pulled.
I decided to build it using Sparkfun’s MP3 trigger. I designed and laser cut a case for the circuit board and plasma cut an adjustable hinge mechanism to mount it in. (download .pdf).

I am really please with the MP3 trigger, setup was a piece of cake: put mp3s onto a microSD card, add config file to set a trigger to random, solder on a switch, done. Designing the case and mechanism and setting it all up took a bit longer, but a satisfying project over all.