The First Maker Space and Tech Community For Markham, Richmond Hill, Thornhill, & Vaughan.

Radio. Ra-D-D-O. Not your grandfather’s ham radio.

Volunteers from  the  York Region Amateur Radio Club came out to the David Dunlap Observatory to give us a presentation on how they’ve moved on from vacuum tubes to the Internet age.
You have to memorise all these frequencies to get your ham radio license. OK, not really.

You have to memorise all these frequencies to get your ham radio license. OK, not really.

The presentation was a real eye-opener. Amateur radio has dropped in cost, and they use Arduiono, Raspberry Pi and all the other things we’re used to in robotics other maker stuff.
You think Arduino is small?

You think Arduino is small?

Computer technology is now central to it. Even the full radio sets have serial and USB interfaces to provide PC interfaces, as there are only so many buttons you can cram on to the front of the set.
Now we fit the whole radio on a USB stick!

Now we fit the whole radio on a USB stick!

Software defined radio has revolutionised the technology, with a full receiver now down to a USB stick. Their members have created GPS transmitters, hooked them up to small helium balloons, and tracked the signal all the way across the Atlantic!
The radio signal wavelength is this big.

The radio signal wavelength is this big.

Big thanks to YRARC members Chris, John and Geoff for the excellent presentation and for all the demo gear they brought out.
You don't have to learn Morse code to get your ham license. But these old sets are still pretty cool.

You don’t have to learn Morse code to get your ham license. But these old sets are still pretty cool.

We wrapped up the evening with tours of the DDO telescope, and visits to our maker space in the DDO basement. Ylab volunteers brought out a great assortment of demo equipment, and Nathan from Vanguard showed of a VR headset that uses an Android phone as the screens.
Everybody wants their picture with a light sabre.

Everybody wants their picture with a light sabre.

What you see in the headset is virtual. The rest of the picture is a real ylab maker space!

What you see in the headset is virtual. The rest of the picture is a real ylab maker space!

Robot Ross Roomba ROS Robot. Really.

Robot Ross Roomba ROS Robot. Really.

Final thanks to the DDO volunteers for hosting the event and the telescope tours, and to Albert from Keating Technologies for the loan of the MakerBot Replicator to print an improved model of the telescope dome.
This time, we used white plastic to print it.

This time, we used white plastic to print it.

We’ll be back to the regular Robotycs toy hacking next week – and you can register here.