Why I am a HAM

It all started a few years ago. I was struggling to get up the courage to apply for highly technical college programs. The design aspects of the programs I was looking forward to, but not the hardware aspects. Hardware has never been a strong suit of mine. Fortunately, somewhere, a long time ago, I heard that Amateur Radio was a great way to learn electrical engineering. So I kept it in my head to pursue it.

Well, my step-dad’s cousin (I call him Uncle) is a HAM (Amateur Radio Operator), and I mentioned to him that I was thinking about pursuing the license. And, as you can imagine, he got very excited. Ham operators love sharing their hobby. He even purchased a study guide for me as a birthday gift.

Well, I studied, and studied, and took practice tests, and studied. But the material would not stick in my head. As you remember my interested in Amateur Radio came because I had a LOT to learn, not because it was easy. Fortunately, a class in a local city was offered. I couldn’t attend the first time, but they offered it a second time and I jumped at the opportunity. The classes were awesome. I got to learn lots of electronics. Theory only – we didn’t do any real hands on beyond passing components around show and tell like. But it was enough that the terms started to stick. And a good little intro. And at the end of ten weeks, I passed the FCC exam! I barely passed, but I passed.

Now, I’m out there, talking to people on the radio, and even attending a Field Day Competition with my uncle. (Field Day is where clubs set up emergency stations in public places (usually elementary school fields) and practice reaching as many people as they can on the radio. It’s good practice because they get to set up as they would if they were called upon in a city wide emergency to assist emergency communication traffic). And the best thing? The best thing is that my step dad, who never taught me much in the way of electronics growing up, is now helping me make an antenna! So my goal of leaning hardware and electronics is coming to fruition.

That is why I am a Ham.


The Keyboard doesn’t always work. But sometimes it does.

I don’t get it… right now, my keyboard is working fine. But 20 minutes ago before a reboot it was as flaky as always. This means that it could work perfect all the time, but it doesn’t. The last fix I tried was cleaning both contacts with rubbing alcohol and letting it evaporate overnight. That worked at first. And it works now. But not always. Sigh.

Update: I drafted this blog post yesterday afternoon. And the computer’s been working great since then. At least I know it can work.

My Keyboard fix

Yes, I am one of the Samsung Ativ users who does not have a properly working keyboard. It works decently, but occasionally will just disconnect randomly and stop working at all for a minute or two. And it’s always always beeping at me. Incessantly. I feel like the fix will have to be from the software side, because I don’t know how I can fix the hardware.

I actually think I may have fixed it. I’ve tried many things. Most of the things I attempted are probably overkill, but oh well. If I had to I could reset the computer and start over with new changes.

What I did was go into the device settings “Devices and Printers”. I then right clicked on “Ultrabook” and selected properties. Then went through Hardware and selected each “Generic USB Hub” one at a time. I clicked on properties, then Change Settings, then Power Management. I unselected “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power”.

I went ahead and did this to each USB device. I also made this change in the properties of the actual keyboard.

What this means is that I risk draining the power if I use my computer to charge something. However, I don’t often charge devices from my computer, and the one thumb drive seems to turn off OK when I put my computer to sleep. The risk is worth it.

Today my keyboard has been working without any trouble!! Tomorrow I think I’ll go back through and figure out which USB device is the one for the keyboard, and reset the others. – Undo the overkill.

Please let me know if this fix worked for you too.