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At MakerFaire NYC

Hi all,I'll be at the NYC MakerFaire this weekend (Sept 21-22), in case anyone wishes to join up...

Concepts For A CubeSat LARP

I am a firm believer that simulations improve reality.  If you want to launch a CubeSat, you...

Putting a TARDIS in Space?

I am used to odd looks when I say I'm flying a satellite to convert the ionosphere to music. ...

Who Can Launch a CubeSat?

In the half year since I wrote last September, the CubeSat field has greatly moved forward. ...

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Project CalliopeRSS Feed of this column.

Alex "Sandy" Antunes is the mastermind behind 'Project Calliope', a pico-satellite funded by Science 2.0 and being launched in 2011 by a mad scientist who is a space & music enthusiast. This... Read More »

Who interviewed who?  There's Scopes Monkey Choir-- the podcast interviewing me.  And there's 365 Days of Astronomy-- the podcast where I interview them.  Welcome to an irrational approach to "music in a rational universe".
In 2 weeks I test for my HAM Technician-class amateur radio license. I confess no particular interest in HAM radio. However, my satellite has a transmitter and needs a call sign. It isn't smart enough to take the test itself, so I have to do it for it.

To pass the Technician's test, I need to answer 75% of the 35 multiple-choice questions (i.e. 26) correctly. I found 3 sites that had particularly well implemented practice exams (including telling you what you got wrong, and why). Thus unarmed, I took the test cold last night, repeatedly.

The 3 test sites of glory: eHamRadioExam.org * AA9PW
I was a soldering fiend.  Rosin and tin melted under the heat of my mighty, err, tip.  Yes, I finally got the chance to start soldering some of the Calliope boards-- plus fix the broken down strum switch on my Guitar Hero guitar, edit two podcasts, and finally watch "How to Train Your Dragon".

The reason for this burst of useful activity?  My internet connection was down for two days.  Because of those two days, I think I surged two weeks ahead in my Calliope build schedule.

So, the Internet: great place, but sometimes even more awesome when it's turned off.
Full of fear, I nervously packed the first Calliope test build into my carry-on badge and made ready to fly from DC to San Francisco.  Would the TSA (airport security) people allow me to ship a liter-sized array of PCB boards stuck together with PVC separators?

This 'Traveling with DIY Electronics' article has good recommendations for international travel, where there exists customs forms and other niceties.  However, I was traveling domestic, and there isn't really a 'this is not a bomb' form I can fill out in advance.
There's an interview of me up on UniverseToday today.  Interviewer Nancy Atkinson chose some really nice quotes, which of course make me sound much smarter and more clueful than I really am.  So I call it a win!  And no one will know better, mwah ha ha.   It has my best definition of sonification yet.  It also has a cute picture of a cat.  So you know the drill, go read it and enjoy!
I sat down and started writing a column on Sonification for today, then I realized I'd already written that piece-- several months ago. Whoops.

So instead, I've built an index of the Project Calliope columns by topic, so you can read the full story (so far). This index is current as of Dec 6 2010. Consider it the first half of a DIY satellite builder's guide, plus all the framing material you need to work out your own satellite high concept.  Enjoy!

Alex, projectCalliope.com, 'Around the world in 48 beats', reporting weekly on building a music/science satellite in his basement for launch in 2011.

Underlying Principals