IVCA Vision News No. 18
No.18    May 8  -  2002                      
         Keeping  Amateurs  informed on Developments in Visual Communication around the world
       Dayton Update (Just received from Don Miller W9NTP Dayton IVCA Coordinator)
   Please attend the SSTV Forum on Saturday afternoon.  We have an excellent program lined up.  It starts with a talk on how to get on SSTV,  also covers a new book on the subject and follows with the HDSSTV progress this last year.  We also have reports on what has been done on the  International Space Station with SSTV and the great space SSTV shots copied through AO-40 from 39,000 miles away.  That is almost 80,000 miles round  trip.  How is that for DX?   See you at the Dayton Hamvention.  

     A reminder to all IVCA members and Vision News viewers.
To provide the necessary funds to support the IVCA activities we incourage all to send in annual membership dues now!     
 The VISION News Letter is free but we request that every one that wishes to be a member and support the IVCA to send a $10.00 yearly fee to the Treasurer James Gaither Jr. W4CR PO BOX 140336  NASHVILLE TN 37214 USA  This is necessary to fund the Dayton Ohio meeting expense and the various IVCA awards and functions.

       More on the Tiny Ultra Personal Computer  (or "Back to the Future")
To answer my question if the PDA sized Win XP computer by the OQO mfg. has a USB and an Audio function, we checked the developers web site at http://www.oqo.com  and found that not only did it have USB and Audio, this amazing little full featured computer also has a 802.11b and Bluetooth wireless and also 1394 Firewire capability. It also has a touch screen and can operate as a wireless portable or a desktop using a standard keyboard,mouse and monitor. It slips into your shirt pocket and has a hotsync type cradle. It's actual size is 4.9 X 2.9 Inches with a bright color VGA LCD 4 inch screen. (I'm impressed! so what's next?, as we also now have things like the new Virtual optically projected keyboard and mouse. This new hardware may soon just shrink and completely disappear out of sight, so look out, Dick Tracy the wireless wrist watch two-way TV with even a web video phone is likely not to be too far off.) I just realized this little device could also replace a MP3 music recorder/player and even down load it's own music! If you just install an SSTV program then plug-in a little USB or firewire camera and feed the audio in and out  to a transceiver, your ready to go! Note:the possible additional use with this PC of an external USB type CD or possible DVD  recorder/player and a flatbed scanner etc., is however optional!  HI....... Ray W5NOO

      SSTV QRM (causes and solutions)
As we have indicated in the past VISION  news, the practice of sending a graphic CQ without a voice announcement first, giving the Call and QTH and Mode, is an increasing problem. As a result of the easy and inexpensive approach to SSTV using computers with sound cards and software programs, has helped to increase the number of SSTV operators to thousands world wide. As these SSTV programs don't come with general operating instructions, we need to inform new operators of  the proper procedures to help eliminate the QRM problems.  An interesting web site that Nils Gustav SM5EEP (the number one winning SSTV DX operator) has at http://w1.223.telia.com/~u22310067 where he gives information and suggestions on this QRM problem and also has some good DX photos etc. Unfortunately SSTV is unlike the (WinPSKse a digital mode text program) or some of the web Video Phone programs that can successfully receive two or more stations at a time. With SSTV we just lose the proper sync or some times get a mix or possibly alternate and combine two or more pictures in a single frame!.)

.  The Advantages of USB  ( Your limited If you don't have USB on your computer, we now have USB connections to what ever)
If you have an older computer with out the USB connections you can probably upgrade to USB 1.1  type PCI Two port plug-in adapter card, some for as little as $10 and for more money install a backward compatible newer USB 2.0 type card with a speed similar to firewire. (Firewire adapter plug-in cards are also available) You can then take advantage of the new inexpensive USB cameras and numerous devices like external scanners and CD burners and computer file transfer/networking cables and hard drives or digital camera inputs and the small thumb sized plug in flash storage devices etc.  Note: with the purchase of additional powered USB hubs in a daisy chain connection you are not limited to the small number of standard windows serial and parallel devices but can have up to 127 hot plug and play devices connected. Even a USB to parallel printer adaptor cable is available, as the typical single normal parallel port will limit you, usually to only two devices in a maximum daisy chain. You can add more serial and parallel port PCI cards but you usually run out of slots or have computer interrupt conflicts or interrupt shortages. Note:some older hardware is still "plug and pray" not "plug and play" .My computers so far seems to recognize all the USB devices and load them or request some new software to be installed to make them functional even on a Win98 and also a  WinXP computer!  (USB is the best thing since sliced bread) 

    Practical Use for the Old PC  (recycle that old boat-anchor into something useful)
If you have some old unused computers around the house or can obtain one at the trash dump etc. it's power supply can be removed and converted inexpensively into a 13.8 Volt DC switcher supply to run a HF 100 W transceiver. Note:a modified 350 W computer power supply will provide 20 amps DC continuous. For the complete details see the St Louis Switcher article in QST magazine May 2002 page 35. Or perhaps you could have a bench supply and get rid of all those darn 12 Volt power cubes that take up all your 117 VAC receptacles as well.. (An excellent project if your on a fixed income or a tight budget with spare time.)

    Some Slow Scan History  (or the rapid evolution of SSTV systems and  equipment)
I'm sure most Amateurs remember the first radio contact or first girl/boy  friend and surely their first SSTV picture received as I do with that old home brew McDonald P7 CRT receiver, the picture was an American Flag with reversed video (.black stars on a white field due to a reversed diode connection) I have also over the years used a number of hardware and software arrangements and cameras and scanners etc. to send and receive SSTV including the following. The A&A  Engineering View Port VGA external hardware parallel port unit with various software and TSR arrangements, the Vester home brew interface and software programs, the following DOS simple interface programs including the GSH-PC, MSCAN, HI-SCAN and PROSCAN and the Pasocon TV lite and the JVFAX and also the Pasokon Pro plugin card and software systems . We have also ran several windows based SSTV programs with an IBM computer sound card arrangement using  the following software; Win PIX Pro.and WIN95SSTV and JV-COM including the ChromaPIX along with WinPix32. and MMSSTV setups. I will say they are all fun and seem to improve with new versions or upgrades and have lots of new features. And the FAQ we still get is.  "what's the best or most fun SSTV setup"?.We have not had a chance to try them all but I'll have to say, "my first home brew outfit with the P7 CRT and the Flying spot scanner, was the most exciting." (or sort of like my first automobile) even though I'll admit it was only a small black & white with very low 120 line quality display. Us Old timers just tend to remember the past as better than it really was back when we built it all "home brew style" with  tubes, etc. or as we now just like to call it "the good old days"!.  Ray W5NOO

     The Need for News and those Confusing Computers
As we have previously requested and still need the viewers to send in any news they may have. We are so desperate that you can even let us know if you cat has had kittens or if your little league team won etc. I have also received some e-mail from viewers thanking me for my efforts and we sure appreciate it.(being editor of the VISION "is a tough job but someone has to do it") In the mean while (or as they say "back at the ranch") I'll have to use material that we hope will be useful or interesting like computer tips and new product information. As an example some time back we attempted to start a computer club in my small Oklahoma town.and  I was amazed to learn of the various problems folks have trying to use computers, like one person that had crashed a hard drive and asked me to copy their e-mail files off on to some floppy's that could then be installed on a new computer I then discovered that there were well over 4000 old e-mail files installed as apparently they had never learned how to delete or even copy a file. Most like me seem to have problems with their confusing personal computers. Note:(Like we finally figured out you have to press the Insert key to add a word in the middle of a sentence or it all just keeps moving around) We felt most could also use some help especially as so many are starting to use the sound card SSTV software programs and the various digital modes and numerous computer functions like e-mail and video mail and video phone programs etc. ( We still hear a large number  continuing to ask for help with a new SSTV programs and also for help with some of various PC problems on the popular SSTV frequencies!)

      Computer Tips & Tricks  (useful password hack when you forget)
As we have over 150 programs installed I commonly am requested to provide a pass word to open a program but have forgotten or lost it, To solve this problem you can install a small freeware program the "123 Recoverpassword" version 3.01  that will provide a small program only (171Kb) that will let you also put a Icon picture of a "Key" on your desktop to turn it on and then just drag the little resulting program "key" icon over to the little password star type asterisk letter symbols that's used to hide a programs text password and this will recover the password.  Just click the following URL to download this slick program at http://www.webattack.com/get/123pwrecovery.shtml   Note: This program works on Win 9x/NT/2000/XP operating systems and is easier than e-mailing the program provider to obtain a lost password.  (Warning: Hackers be sure to only use this program at home on your own personal PC) ( it's just not nice to steal peoples passwords!)
     Google Search Engine Tips (More new functions)
I believe Google is the best search engine as it  can also do the following  1. Image Search (Just describe a picture) 2. Catalog Search (for Color catalogs) 3.News Search (up to date news stories)  4.Collage & University Search  5. Computer Platform Search (for Mac/BSD Unix/ Linux/ Windows  Information) 6.Web Site Language Translations. (convert a web page)   Just select the type of search at http://www.google.com or type of function you require!.

      Computer backups  (what is the cheapest and best way to perform this important function?)
If or should I say when you get a Hard Drive failure or crash or a virus or worm you will quickly see the advantage to backing up your important data. We now have a number of ways to do this. As most new computers don't come with  CD recorders but usually only a CD player but you can change to a  CD recorder/player drive or you can even use a external USB  type or even a faster USB 2.0 external recorder  for even a faster burn speeds. At present the cheapest storage is on a compact disk that holds at least 650 Mb on a read only "CD-R" or a read and rewriteable CD-RW disk for long term storage.As the low cost recording tape type storage drives are going out of production and the removable ZIP or floppies disk only hold a maximum of 1.4meg to 250Kb and have a much shorter storage life span. The CD burners are now cheep and storage cost is down to around one cent per Mb. Note: The new DVD recorders can burn a 4.7Gig's size disk but the drive hardware cost is just now only down to around $350 in the US and DVD storage disk cost is also much higher than a recordable CD disk! (a total hard drive back up using a second or an external USB connected hard drive is also nice but not usually necessary as most will have all the operating system and basic programs on CD's and floppies etc.and the simple drag and drop method to copy selected files using the CD burner software is easy and handy to use. We also have special software for automatic scheduled back-up available like the Second Copy etc. but most Amateurs will probably not find this necessary. Note: If I do a HD format and a complete reinstall on this computer it will take me around 16 hours of labor as we have had to do it in the past before we had a second computer connected with a USB File/Program transfer cable device and also a ZIP 100 Mb and a Imation Super 120 Mb floppy drive removeable storage back-up arrangements .  (Note:Those 30  Gig or larger Hard Drives sure can hold lot's of pictures,programs and data to put back when you are forced to!  This is all epically disgusting after some of those bad Windows 9X problems develop that you just were unable to fix even after all your efforts and the numerous unsuccessful attempts.) 
                                 Happy Viewing  write if you have news or get a job!  73 Ray W5NOO


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