Wednesday, August 28, 2013

To Listen/Watch RF Spectrum...

Sometimes I like to know what is happening around me. Actually most of the time I want to know what is happening around me. Scanner radio's can be expensive and in some cases controlled and have limited coverage. Governments have a tendency to want to hide what they are up to. What can the average person get a hold of without spending a ton of cash to be able to listen and watch what is happening around them.

First off get a hold of this free application. Donate if you can afford it and like it.
Get this one. Plugins for SDR#: SDR# Plugins.
This one has a few plugins as well: RTL-SDR SDR# Plugins.

On to the hardware. A person can be one of these USB DVB-T  RTL2832U tuners for 10$ on e-bay. Amazon has them, I am not sure who is cheaper. Depends on the day I suppose.

The tuner I bought has the MCX connector for the antenna. I purchased an adapter that changes MCX to BNC with a short length of cable between the two connectors. The cost for the adapter was 6$ with free shipping. Next on the list was a three foot USB extension cable M/F (3$). This lets me get the tuner up a little bit away from the laptop. Finally a collapsible antenna (10$).

This little setup lets me listen 30 MHz to 1.8 GHz, AM, FM, LSB, USB. Has a waterfall to watch for transmissions. While you may not be able to understand if they are using P25, but you will know something is happening. Guesstimate distance from your location.
So for 30$ I have a wide band receiver. The software works with Linux and Windoz. Lots to explore.

** Remember these types of devices can be used by good people as well as bad.


Friday, August 23, 2013

to Make a Tincture...

Well, summer is coming to a close. We built a solar food dryer and played around with strawberries and bananas. The strawberries worked out the best, the bananas not so much. Needed more time for them.

For a definition check wikipedia for Tincture. Basically a concentrated form of medicinal herb suspended in an alcohol base. For the alcohol I used 80 proof vodka. Never made a tincture before, so I had to do some reading. I have several books about herbal medicine and as well as poking around the internet.

Check out these books...
Handbook Native American Herbs Healing
Peterson Field Guide Medicinal Plants Herbs
Backyard Medicine Harvest Herbal Remedies

Of course there are more on the subject. I do have a few more, but these are what I keep handy. I went to the local grocery and picked up a case of large mouth pint canning jars and lids. Also, got some wax and pectin. Just in case we want to try and make some jam later.  So here is what I did.

First I sterilized the lids and bottles.
1 cup of dried chaga into a pint jar.
Filled the remainer of the jar with vodka.
Try to leave as little air space a possible.
Shake daily and let seat for a month.

The second batch is made of black elder berries.
1 cup of elder berries, I used a fork to mash the berries.
Turns out to be 1/2 a cup. (Next batch will be 2 cups of whole berries)
Filled the remainer of the jar with vodka.
Try to leave as little air space a possible.
Shake daily and let seat for a month.

Both will stay in the dark corner of the pantry for a month. I have some yarrow and self-heal in the yard. I am going to pick some to dry as well as make a batch of tincture for them.

As a matter of fact my wife just finished making a small batch of black elderberry syrup. We will have to taste test in a bit.