K2HAX Is On The Air

K2HAX is on the air!  With our move to the new space, we have access to the roof.  On a beautiful fall day, Chris Olin and I put up a 30’ fiberglass mast on a tripod base (not attached to the roof).  Then we hoisted up a trapped dipole for 10-80 meters and a G5RV.  The dipole is oriented SW-NE, the G5RV is SE-NW.  We also put up a 2m/70 cm J-Pole for VHF/UHF.  All the feedlines were run with previously used 8/U down to our space (about 150’) and into the Ham Shack.

We initially had a Kenwood TS-530s transceiver and roller tuner setup for HF and we made a few contacts.  We wanted to get the Yaesu FT-857GX out of the storage container and try it out.  That is setup now along with an automatic tuner.  Reception seems decent.  We are waiting on an operable microphone to get back on the air.  Bill, Von, Rowan, and Steve are working on that.  We will be working on CAT control and a hook-up for using SDR like functionality with Ham Radio Deluxe, allowing us to get into the digital communication modes.

The Yaesu FT-8800 VHF/UHF rig is working well, K2HAX normally monitors 146.61 (N2MPE local ARES/RACES repeater) while someone is in the shack.  We have cables for programming this rig on order and also have a cable for use with the PacComm TNC for packet, etc.

We also have a desktop PC with a nice monitor setup for use with the transceivers.  We are waiting on a 2 port serial card to communicate with the radios.  The remote programming of the radios and the option for digital mode communications (PSK, Packet, etc) opens up with the PC.

Our bench includes power supplies, frequency counters, various multi-meters and hand tools.  We have a great selection of soldering tools for discrete and SMT component work.  We have a variable temperature iron and a variable speed and temperature blower for re-work.  On order is a Hakko 808 de-soldering tool.  We have 2 antenna analyzers, a new Comet and an older MFJ.  Several bench projects are already underway including Jamie’s whispering clocks, many cable hacks for the radios, and Walter’s attempts to repair blown audio equipment.

Ham radio is witnessing a rebirth in popularity.  Emergency preparedness at the county/state/and national level has recognized the value of Ham radio as the most dependable means for communication during an emergency.  Interlock members have participated in local POD drills, Ginna nuclear event practice response teams and are regular attendees at the local ARES/RACES meetings.  Ham Radio can provide texting, TV and many other familiar forms of communication without any annoying infrastructure.  We can DX with Ham operators around the world, by voice and many new and old digital modes.  SDR is an emerging technology applied to Ham radio; opening up some fantastic possibilities for low power operation, contesting, and pulling weak signals out of the noise.

Ham radio is growing in popularity.  Interlock Hams would love to introduce anyone interested to the hobby and answer any questions you may have.

’73 Walter

Hammy ShackThe Ham Shack

from on November 27th, 2011Comments0 Comments

Android Hacking

Android right now makes up 52% of the smartphone market share and a third of the tablets. I’ve been focused on Android lately and wanted to do an introduction to the hackability of these devices. From a security perspective, Android offers some interesting opportunities: rooting your phone, hacking an app, or malware analysis. For the hardware hackers, Google and others are offering hardware tools that can plug into your Android device to enable use them for your hardware projects. If you’re interested in the creative path, it’s really easy to get started doing app development.

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from on September 7th, 2011Comments0 Comments

Regional Computer Recycling & Recovery Tour

Regional Computer Recycling & Recovery

Have you ever wanted to watch a hard drive get shredded in seconds, see a box of RAM that was 800 pounds, or wander through a 100,000 square foot grave yard of electronics? So did we, and our tour of Regional Computer Recycling and Recovery was just that. RCR&R is one of the major electronics recyclers in the Rochester area, and we were lucky enough to get a tour of their facilities. They outlined the process from beginning to end of how a computer is received, processed, parted out, and eventually recycled.

rotating knives sign

A group of us were guided around the RCR&R facility after learning about the organization. Vice president Charlie McKernen teamed up with client service representative Tom Smith to show us the facility, answer our questions, and keep us on track when our attention strayed to the many items sitting on the giant shelves. One of the first stops was a hard drive shredder which chopped through the devices like butter, leaving just a pile of scraps after a few sparks. We walked by workers parting out the computers, placing each into a corresponding box that would eventually be shipped out for recycling by a facility specifically designed to process that part. Charlie was able to easily answer our questions on degaussing and secure hard drive wiping methods, and they all seemed to be up to speed on the latest compliance requirements and best practices when it came to security.

The tour happened on the same day that the Democrat and Chronicle published an article discussing a New York State law touting a state wide, free e-waste recycling program. Passed in May, the law will make electronics manufacturers responsible for the waste generated when a computer is recycled. Current NYS law allows computers to be thrown out as part of your regular trash, leaking contaminants into the ground. Hazardous metals like lead and mercury, and the chemicals that make plastics flame retardant can cause damage to the environment. The new law aims to get consumers recycling their old electronics by offsetting the cost back to the manufacturers.

You can visit the RCR&R website for more information about their facility and services, and be sure to check out their Electronics Cafe eBay store if you’re interested in seeing all of the fun stuff they have for sale.

EDIT: Their facility is 100,000 sqft in Victor and their Central Ave. location is 20,000 sqft.

from on December 28th, 2010Comments1 Comment