Tour De Cure 2009!

Team Madison participated in the Hampton Roads Tour de Cure 2009 this Saturday.  We had 3 riders and raised $1248.00 for Diabetes Research!

My 2 Daughters rode the 10 mile family fun ride and I did the 100 mile century ride.  This was my first century ride and did I ever learn a lot!  My bike was too heavily loaded and I did not start training early enough.  The guy at the bike shop was right when he told me there was a big difference between the 30 miles I did last year and the 100 I did this year.  My time was 10 hours!  I crossed the finish line 1 hour after the course was closed.

The hardest part of the route was the 20 miles between rest stop 3 and the half way point.  I seriously started to doubt that I would actually finish.  I kept pushing on and was making all the minimum times to stay on the 100 mile course.  On the last leg, a SAG motorcycle pulled up next to me.  I was expecting them to tell me that I had to stop but all he asked was my rider number and them proceeded on.

My bike was outfitted with a 2 meter twin lead J-pole antenna.  It was good to listen to the hams over the entire course.  I would stop and talk with them at the rest stops.  I also had an Etrex Legend GPS unit on the handle bar to make sure that I stayed on the course.  Next year I don’t think I will carry the tires, tubes (well, maybe the tubes), and all the tools that I had.  I could have totally dissassembled the bike with what I had onboard.  I was ready for any emergency.  I guess I just over engineered the process. 

My GPS unit when dead about 5 miles from the finish.  I did have some fresh batteries but at that point I knew I was close to the finish and did not want to stop.  I was hoping that they had at least kept the signs up.  I almost missed the second to the last turn because there were no signs but I saw the paint on the road and made the turn.

All in all it was a good day.  I am looking forward to next year and hoping our team will be bigger and we can raise more money.  I really appreciate the support we received and look forward to continuing that next year.


Upgrading the Acer Aspire One Operating System

OK, I took the plunge today and removed linpus lite in favor of Sidux.  Being a long time Debian user, it was a natural fit.  Everything worked after the install but required a little tweaking after upgrading the Distribution.  Sidux is based on the Sid repository of Debian.  The unstable branch.  Definately not for the first time linux user.  I believe Fedora Core 10 will run on the AAO too which will feel more like linpus.  

Well, this entry wouldn’t be complete without a screenshot so here it is:

A carry case for the Acer Aspire One

I found this buried in the Acer Aspire One forums.  My Acer box was becoming tattered so I went on the hunt for a carry case.  I soon realized that a laptop case would be over kill and checked to the forums to see what everyone else was using.  I stumble upon a post that said the Acer Aspire One would fit in a Targus Portable DVD player case!  Off I went to the local wally world and picked one up.  It fits like a glove!

More on the Acer

This is turning out to be quite a machine.  I have added three more ham apps to the list.  I installed Qtel (Echolink), QSSTV (SSTV), and Xastir (APRS).  The only program that has been giving me fits is TLF (Contest Logging).  That should only be a matter of time though.  I have also installed other things like Firefox 3, Gtkpod (Ipod), and Gpodder (Podcasts).  I am surprised at all the complaining in the forums but I am assuming that those are coming from people who are either not familiar with linux or do not want to take the time to learn it.  I am sure I will have more later.  Here are more screenshots!

Acer Aspire One Memory Upgrade

In case anyone was wondering what you have to do to upgrade the memory in one of these machines, here is a look.  It wasn’t too bad.  The hardest part was plugging the keyboard back in (you need really nimble fingers!).  I am now at 1.5 GB!  Enjoy.

Hamming on a Netbook

OK, I have a new computer.  It is an Acer Aspire One net book.  I picked it up off of craigslist for a song!

The first thing I did was undo the “Noob” mode to make it more usable.  After that, I took thing apart and added a 1 GB memory module.  It is a nice, speedy, usable machine!

Here are some screenshots for you.  Will add more later on.

Sounds from Space

I finally did it.  I finally worked another Ham operator though a Satellite.  Actually, 2 stations in Ohio, 1 in Jew Jersey, and 1 in Massachusetts.  It was very exciting! 

I was able to achieve this with loan of an Arrow antenna from a friend of mine.  I was using my old Yaesu FT-726r and manually adjusting for Doppler effect and pointing the antenna.  I also had to take notes and use the microphone.  If I had about 4 hands things would have been much easier.  There is something to be said for computer control.

The two satellites that I worked though are AMSAT-OSCAR 51 (AO-51 or Echo) and Saudi-OSCAR 50 (SO-50)  They just happend to be coming at each other in opposite directions so that I could work AO-51 from South to North and then pick up SO-50 from North to South.  They were both low angle passes to the East out over the Atlantic.

The Arrow Antenna was great!  SO-50 only has a 250mW transmitter and The downlink was very clear all the way through the pass.  The Arrow really pulled it in.

AO-51 and SO-50 are microsats.  They are only a 25mm cubes.  They tumble as they rotate around the Earth.  They are amazing little repeaters in the sky.

To find out more about Amateur Radio satellites, point your browser to or to find out about Amateur Radio in general, head over to

Thanks for reading…..