Software Defined Radio Workshops

This Thursday the 19th, we have another installment of the Software Defined Radio (SDR) workshop. The goal of which is to provide introductory support to people learning about SDR’s as well as let some of the more seasoned folk work on their projects. We’ve talk to a lot of people lately about what an SDR is and why we have a workshop for it so I thought I’d review why they’re fun.

What is an SDR?

Unlike some radio equipment which only provides a small range of frequencies you can transmit and receive on, SDR’s let you use a single device, and control their frequency from very low (<100Mhz) to very high (2.4GHz+).

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So what?

In the past, if you wanted to listen in on a certain frequency, say your garage door opener for example, you’d have to buy a piece of hardware that runs at that frequency — in this case it’s often 434MHz. Now for as little as $20, you can buy a device that can read your garage door opener at 433Mhz, listen to the local FM radio station at 90.5Mhz, or track airplanes at 1090Mhz. This lets you play with different frequencies and see what’s being transmitted. You may be surprised.

This also lets you learn about the basics of RF: electronics, antennas, ways to decode a signal.

The workshop is open to the public; non-members are welcome as always. Feel free to drop a comment on the meetup page if you’re interested but have some questions.

SDR Workshop on Meetup

 

from on February 17th, 2015Comments0 Comments

Interlock goes to Iceland to meet Hakkavélin

When we travel, it’s common for hackerspace members to reach out to other hackerspaces located in our destinations. It’s a great way to meet the locals, share ideas, and learn how other people run a hackerspace. Interlock has entertained guests from all over. Sometimes travelers will email us saying they are doing a tour of hackerspaces in the region and wanted to stop in for a night. When we’re available, we’re happy to entertain at the space and even take them out for a drink. I remember one visit from a group travelling first to New York City (NYC Resistor, Alpha One Labs), going up through Syracuse (SIG 315), to Rochester (Interlock) and ending up in Toronto (Hacklab). Our members have visited spaces all over the country; Florida, Texas, California, North Carolina, and Washington DC are a few that I can remember. There is even a hackerspace passport that Noisebridge started where you can get it stamped at the various hackerspaces that you visit.

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Myself and another member recently visited Iceland for New Years for just over a week and the day after we landed, we jumped on the Hakkavélin IRC channel to reach out to see when open hours were and if we could arrange a visit. While the space wasn’t opened due to the holidays, Sigurður óskarsson was kind enough to meet us at the hackerspace to take us out to a cafe in town. We talked shop a bit, discussing projects people were working on and history of each others’ spaces, along with operational details like how they handled membership and how much they charged.

We learned about their door system which consisted of a full computer sitting outside of the space controlling the door lock. In order to get in, you have to figure out how to use the console in a hackery way. As I understand it, there’s also an IRC bot which controls this door if you message the right user. Located inside the University of Reykjavik, the group is just outside of the downtown area in South Reykjavik. With only four hours of light this time of year, I wasn’t able to get a good look at the university but the buildings I saw were pretty with huge glass walls.

If you have never considered looking up a local hackerspace on your vacation or business trip, I would strongly recommend you consider it next time. It’s a great way to meet like-minded folk in different locations.

from on January 7th, 2015Comments1 Comment

Electronic Drum Set

I wanted to tell you my progress in making the electronic drum set.  The drum pads/cymbals/cowbell is a peizzo element sandwiched between 1/4 inch MDF and foam pad.  The peizzo is wired to a 1/4 inch phono jack.  The drum module was the part that I looked into before starting this project.  Finally found MicroDrum that interfaces with an Arduino and can connect 48 different drums.  It is cheaper then getting a profession drum module that can do 10.  I am just in the middle of making foot pedals for the base drum and the hi-hat pedal that is made out of 1/2 inch MDF, hinge and spring.  The base drum is a peizzo and the hi-hat is a momentary on-switch.

 

Drum Module

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Toms/Snares

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Cymbals and Cowbell

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from on December 21st, 2014Comments0 Comments