First Radio – VX8-DR

I’m now the happy owner of my first radio, a Yaesu VX8-DR. It’s a lovely handheld that I’m looking forward to using and getting on the air.

It’s actually not my first, I have a Micro-Trak RTG tracker that I used on K9 for Burning Man last year. I was able to use it because Phil (K6CQU) was gracious enough to let me run it under his call sign. Now I’ll be able to use it under my own call sign. Simple pleasures!

I chose the VX8-DR because it has a GPS receiver and can receive and transmit on APRS, just like the Micro-Trak RTG. I’m a bit enamored with the idea of tracking locations via ham radio operations.

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Radio Club – ORCA

I’ve joined the local Oakland ham radio club, ORCA. I’m hoping that the other folks in the club will be able to help with any issues and learning about getting on the air.

They also run a local net to help with communications in the event of an emergency. With the classes I’ve been taking through the Oakland Core program, I think it’ll be a nice match.

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Ham Technician License – KK6RUH

A couple of weeks ago on a lovely Saturday, I sat in on an all day prep / test for my ham technical license. This is something that I’ve been wanting to do since I was around 12 years old. (Yes, I am that much of a geek 😉 The test was interesting and is predicated on the idea that you learn more / better once you have your license and can get on the air.

The prep work was to read through all the possible multiple choice questions with the answers and highlight the correct answer and only the correct answer. Then re-read the question and answer. And re-read it again. Ignoring the wrong answers with each re-read. Now move on to the next question.

It’s not about learning the material but learning which is the correct answer for that question. You’re actually at a disadvantage with this method if you actually know the material. About 60% – 70% of the questions I already knew the answers. And I just had force myself to follow their process and not work out the correct answer for myself. This goes against everything I ever learned about learning and test taking. But at the end of the day, it worked and I passed w/ 2 wrong answers. Not bad though it’ll be interesting to see how I learn and recover from mistakes as I get on the air.

Today I received the notice from the FCC that it’s official, I am a licensed amerature radio operator! My call sign is KK6RUH. Wahoo!

Gravity Cars – Crucible Style

After three very successful weeks of Gravity Cars at the Crucible, it was time to invite the staff and faculty to build cars and race them.

Of course, we captured some video of the festivities!

Metal Titans



Camera Car Test Run

Max Skidding

More Flames

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Gravity Cars and a Nerdy Derby Track

I recently had the opportunity to create the Gravity Cars class for the Crucible’s Youth Program. As part of that work, I created a race track based on the Nerdy Derby design.

Creating the track was a fair amount of work and involved implementing the design in Autodesk Inventor based on the original PDF from the folks at Nerdy Derby, creating tool paths for a ShopBot Alpha to cut out the pieces, gluing the segments together and assembling the track. But it was most definitely worth the time.

All files for the project can be found on my github repository.


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