Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The RocketFM Mods in detail
By popular demand, here are the steps to modify your RocketFM for better coverage. Why?? Well maybe you want a Linux Clock Radio like I talked about in a previous post.
0- Plug in your soldering iron
1- Find some wire. I happen to have some solid conductor #22 laying around.
2- Cut two pieces of wire 24" long
3- Crack open the RocketFM. If you slide a blade into the seam on the edge, not to cut but to gently pry, the two halves will come apart.
4- Pull out the circuit board and fold out the teeny-weeny copper wire they think is an antenna.
5- measure the length, subtract one inch, and cut that length off one of the 24" copper wires.
6- Strip about an inch of insulation from the shortened copper wire. Wrap about a half inch of the small wire around the bare part of the shortened wire. Solder.
7- at the opposite end of the RocketFM, where the USB cord is connected locate the ground lead, typically black, marked with a "G" on the circuit board. Flip over the circuit board and find the corresponding solder pad.
8- Strip about a quarter inch of insulation from the remaining 24" wire and tin the bare copper wire with solder. Ever so gently solder the tinned end to the ground pad on the solder board. Since we pre-tinned the copper you shouldn't need that much heat.
9- Unplug the soldering iron.
10- take the top cover of the rocketFM and drill two 1/8 inch holes, one at each end for the legs of the new antenna to come through.
11- run the leads through the holes and place the circuit board back in the top half. you may need to play with it a little to get a snug fit. Snap on the back cover.
12- Spread the wires and tape or tack to a wall or some other vertical structure. You'll want to keep the device vertical so it is omnidirectional.
#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 10:11 PM
Frakkin brilliant! Thanks for posting this. Nice and clear. I need some soldering lessons but I got through it even with my pathetic skills.
That piece of crap Rocket FM wasn't even working across the loungeroom and now it's crystal clear.
My Linux juke box now has the power of radio. I think I'll go outside and see if it can reach my car...
Monday, August 06, 2007
Our Crumbling Infrastructure
The recent catastrophe in Minneapolis reminded me of a recent NPR Talk of the Nation - Science Friday episode where the sad state of our nation's infrastructure was discussed.
The host, Ira Flatow, interviewed Lawrence Roth, Executive Deputy Director of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The two spoke of ASCE's "Infrastructure Report Card 2005."
In a nutshell, our critical infrastructure has been ignored and is now starting to show it's age.
The overall grade was: D
I guess investing in infrastructure isn't sexy enough. Too bad .... infrastructure projects produce well paying, skilled labor jobs that can't be outsourced. I mean really ... Have you ever seen bridge building outsourced to China?
Oh I'm sorry, I forgot, we spent all of our infrastructure money rebuilding the infrastructure we bombed out of existence in Iraq.
Well at least someone is getting new bridges.
#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 8:48 PM