Unique Electronic, Software, and Ham Radio Projects

by Rajesh Verma K4SK

Parking Lot Ham Radio Exams

In the early months of COVID-19 many people were stuck at home. With lots of free time, many people started studying for a ham radio license. Testing requires at least three Volunteer Examiners(VEs) with the highest level of license to administer an exam

At one time, various regulations limited gatherings of groups of 10 people. Once these regulations were eased, finding a place to host an event such as a ham radio exam was very limited.


Least Common Call Sign Suffixes

When a new call sign is issued, it is usually issued systematically. For example : KA4AAA, KA4AAB, KA4AAC, etc. The suffix are the letters after the number like AAA. There are some suffixes that are not issued systematically. Some may spell undesirable words. Some are special meanings in radio such as SOS or QR* codes. Some were popular vanity call signs (WTF) and were taken before being issued systematically.


Alzheimer’s LED light strip

Studies have shown exposure to a 40Hz white light for an hour a day helps slow the progression of Alzheimer's Disease and improves memory in mice. This is done by mimicking gamma waves that occur in the brain. People with Alzheimer’s disease show a reduction in gamma waves.

This project takes an LED strip and pulses it at 40Hz and then turns it off after an hour.


Using Meetup API to duplicate an event

My other half and I manage pages for multiple groups on MeetUp.com. A problem we were encountering was that there is no way to copy a meetup from one group to another group. You end up having to spend a lot of time copying and pasting text and images for each group that you wanted to share to. The feature photo alone takes a while to upload and crop correctly. This adds up when you are managing 10+ groups.

Luckily, Meetup has an API that you can use. It is documented at https://www.meetup.com/meetup_api/. To get started, you want to create OATH 2 credentials for your app. You want to setup a key, secret, base website, and redirect URI.


Amateur Radio Gender Demographics

Women are one of the under represented demographics in amateur radio. This is evident in meetings, on the air, and at tests. Finding demographics such as number of males and females or their ages is hard because the FCC does not ask them in the application for a license.

One way to approximate them is to make a best guess based on the name. The US Census Bureau has a list of male and female names at https://www2.census.gov/topics/genealogy/1990surnames/. Each list contains the name, percentage with the name, cumulative total, and rank.


Unique Words in the Ham Radio Question Pool

One of my hobbies is Ham Radio (Amateur Radio). There are three classes of licences: Technician, General, and Amateur Extra. You must pass a multiple choice exam to be granted one of the classes. The exam covers 35(Technician and General) or 50(Amateur Extra) topics. One question is taken from the question pool for each topic

While taking practice exams, I noticed that there were some words that would only appear in the correct answer. I decided to do an analysis of the question pools. I took each question pool and found all words that appeared once in the correct answer.


Sortable IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes Data

After publishing my Rotten Tomatoes script, the site was updated to show both Audience and Critic scores. I like to take credit for that, but I don't think that is the case.

The site change made my script unusable, but was no longer needed. I had been using the new site to find movies to watch until I was contacted by Michael from Meta Film List. He came across my script and was wanting to sort movies based on voting information on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB.

To start finding movies, I used the Advanced Title Search to find Feature Films with 1,000 minimum votes at the following page: http://www.imdb.com/search/title?num_votes=1000,&title_type=feature. There are over 20,000 movies and includes the title, year, genres, rating, votes, and runtime. With a simple script, all the data is saved to a file


Hands Aware

I decided to do a project at One Spark. Meet Hands Aware. It is a wristband that helps prevent the flu. It is in its fourth prototype and is being showcased through Sunday.

Viruses can live outside a host for a long time. The flu virus can live for a week. Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus(MRSA) can live for three months. We get these viruses on our hands and then touch our nose, mouth, or eyes. This causes a substantial portion of respiratory tract infections.

People touch their faces 15.6 times per hour. If we reduce these face-to-hand contacts, we can reduce the infection rate of these viruses.


Amazon Kindle Price Alerts

It's no secret Amazon.com's prices change frequently. Sometimes, many times a day. CamelCamelCamel.com is a good place to track the price of items at Amazon. You can see the history and also get an alert when the price falls below a certain point. The only problem is, you can't track digital items such as Kindle Books. I decided to make a Python script that tracks the price of items on Amazon and e-mails you when the price falls below a certain point.


Rotten Tomatoes Audience Scores

I like to use Rottentomatoes.com to figure out what movies to watch. The Top Rentals is a good source to start with. It lists the rank and the critics rating for the top 50 movies. The only problem is, sometimes the critics' ratings will be far off from the audience's rating. You have to go to the movie's page to find out the audience's rating. I made a Python script that finds all the audience ratings of the top rentals to help find a movie to watch.


When Will This Be Over

VLC is my favorite program to watch any video. It has so many features and plays every format.

One of my favorites is the ability to change the playback speed of the video. It will play the video at a faster rate without changing the pitch of the sound. It is very helpful if you are watching something like a Lord of The Rings, which are 3 hours long each. I find that playing at 1.5x is very easy to follow, and will cut down a 3 hour movie to 2 hours.


Universal Infrared Receiver

I wanted an infrared receiver for my home theatre PC.  The main goal was to use any remote to control Windows Media Center. There are very few remotes for Media Center and they are kind of ugly.  After searching for universal IR receivers, the only thing I could find was USB-UIRT and LiRC. USB-UIRT cost $50. LiRC requires a serial port, which is not found in new computers. I decided to build my own

IR remotes work by sending out a series of pulses of IR light. Each key of the remote has a different pulse pattern.


Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Soap Dispenser

Most people do not wash their hands  properly. Many sources say that you should scrub your hands for at least 15-20 seconds. A good way to keep track is to sing a song like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

Here is a Lysol LYSOL® Healthy Touch® No-Touch Hand Soap System that has been modified using Arduino to show a countdown and play Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. 


A Slow Washing Machine Drain

The house I was renting did not have a washer or dryer hookup. I asked the landlord if he would add one. He obviously said no, but I could add one at my own expense. After adding it, I found that the drain was too slow. The drain would overflow and flood the kitchen.

Here is a creative solution for the problem. Most of the water goes straight down through the drain. When the water reaches a point that it would overflow, it is redirected into the washing machine. The washing machine continues to pump until all the water has been removed.


An automated Dog Walker

Everyone gets busy. Sometimes, our four-legged friends get neglected. Here is a prototype dog walker. It follows your dog and keeps it on the sidewalk and away from water, grass, fire hydrants, and other people.


A wireless weather system

For my senior design project, I made a wireless weather system. It monitored temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind speed, and wind direction. This was transmitted wirelessly and displayed indoors.


A two minute window fan

Living in Florida, you are expected to encounter a hurricane now and then. Even though it is not a direct hit, you still can get some damage. Even with tropical storm winds, you are likely to lose your power.

 I lost power during one of these storms. Life wasn't too bad, but it was very hot without AC. It was hard to fall asleep in a 90F room.