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Phono oscillators - a Knight in shining (blue) armor

Click the pic for a full color image tour
One of the coolest things about what's left of the internet is that, at least for now, nearly anyone passionate enough to spend a few hours hunched over the keyboard can promote the object of their affection to the world.
     A delightful example of this publishing freedom (cherish it!) is the growing family of tribute pages to a little know historical technology called the phono oscillator.
     Strange as it might seem to a generation accustomed to getting one of the most powerful computing platforms ever known at no charge in exchange for a two year contract, technology used to be really expensive.
     Phono oscillators were a work around to get double duty from the large investment mid-20th century families made in then-expensive radio radio receivers.
     For the relatively low cost of a phono oscillator, your home record collection could be heard in the stunning high fidelity sound provided by your console set.
     Here's a stroll through some of what was found on the web: - Knight-Kit Electronics presents the Knight Kit Broadcaster Fan Page dedicated to the Knight-Kit Broadcaster. Be sure to check the links throughout the site, I'm pretty sure I like that coffee mug.... kit home broadcasters - The Knight Wireless Broadcaster-Amplifier takes only a few hours to build... Broadcaster - Experiences with the Knight Radio Broadcaster. Radio stuff/Knight - Original assembly manual. - Memories from users of the Knight Broadcaster. - The esteemed and far better organized page on Phono oscillators. from the home - Welcome to the world of home wireless broadcasting!. SMECC's Phono Oscillator page. - How many of our readers ever wanted to be a deejay or operate his or her own transmitter to play music? - The competing Lafayette LA-23 / KT-195 Amp & Wireless Broadcaster. - The oscillator on this page is based on the 1939 Zenith S-7000 series. Stereo XMTR - Bob Weaver's three tube C-QuAM Stereo Transmitter. - Needs parts for your tube-ular ventures? Try Antique Electronic Supply - AES!

     Hopefully, this look back to a more technologically sparse era will help us remember how fortunate we are to be right here, right now.

Smartphone station automation? SCASP II

For me, using obsolete technology to feed my transmitter started with my first effort.  A discarded auto reverse mono cassette recorder fed a 13 minute prerecorded message into a hand made AM transmitter. 
     That transmitter insisted on a frequency of 790 KHz (even though it was using a 1000 KHz XTAL!) but when my car radio tuned in my shaky, flaky little set up, I was hooked.
     After several auto reverse units and dozens of worn out audio tapes, the process continued into the digital audio realm, where the options are manifold.
     I gave my efforts the nickname SCASP, for Scrap Computer Audio Source Project, and happily plowed through a variety of oldies but goodies.  An early web documentation of my first efforts can be found at the original S.C.A.S.P. page as part of an archive of one of my first low power radio sites.
     An old PC chassis running a DOS audio player on a RAM drive, a discarded Palm Pilot with a (gasp!) 256 MB mini SD card, a Dell notebook running Windows 98, an early model 512 MB capacity MP3 player and now, in an embarrassing testimonial to first world problems, I find myself with a surplus (?) expired contract smartphone.
     My old (?) Samsung Omnia was an early Windows phone 6.0, from way, way back in 2009. Blocked by the provider from accessing WiFi without a service contract and featuring an easy-scratch screen that now looks like it was worked over by Freddy Krueger, this little handset had become a paperweight - in other words, perfect!
     The four attributes that put this little chunk of technology in the SCASP category were
  • The means to manage files by way of an SD card socket - content! 
  • An external power source by way of the charger/adapter 
  • An audio out connection, by way of the earphone connector 
  • A programmable audio player with playlist capability
     After loading the files into the SD chip, using a USB card reader/writer, even the native Window Media player can be used to create a play list.  Connect the audio to the transmitter and it's on the air.
     What undiscovered bit of SCASP magic is collecting dust at your QTH?  I guess I could rename it SCRAP, for scrapped cellphone recycled audio programmer!

Who are you?

This poorly organized Internet existence, lacking direction and sporadically maintained, got its first page views back in July of 2006. In those eight short years, some patterns have emerged, patterns that start to describe who visits
     We don't do user interaction here and even if we did, the non-participating vastly outnumber the interactors so that would be a poor judge, anyway.
     Happily, none of these patterns are of any commercial value and don't really reveal much of anything about a specific individual. Instead, these patterns are more the simple things, the kinds of things we like to get to know about the people in our neighborhood.
     Here are six things I've learned about our visitors.
  1. You have a job. Seems like a silly thing to say, but that's the only thing I can think of that accounts for the fact that traffic goes way up on the weekends and is particularly low towards the end of the work week. 
  2. You're mainstream yet tech savvy. 80% of you come from a desktop Windows environment. Less that 10% of you visit using a Mac. In spite of the dominance of the Windows platform, less than a third of you visit using Internet Explorer. 
  3. You get here using Google and you're looking for something specific. Google brings three times more of you than all other methods combined. 
  4. You like to read. You stay for quite a while when you land here the first time and a third of you come back. When you come back, you stay 38% longer that you stayed on your first visit. 
  5. You like what you find here.  Most of you go at least three pages deep. A small group of you stay more than 30 minutes per visit. 
  6. You are global. Really global. As the visitor map shows, you come from everywhere. Some of you might be using a means of connecting to the web that obscure your specific location and that's fine, I'm not looking for specifics. In general, you're global. If anything would have surprised me in 2006, it's that people come here from all over the world. I am amazed and very humbled by that.
     Thank you for visiting and thank you for your support over these past eight years and, Google willing, many more...

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