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VE2DPE Eclectic News: Issue #1 - How I Keep My Brain Nimble
August 15, 2020

"I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." Albert Einstein

How do I keep my brain nimble? Simple. I feed it a steady diet of information from a wide selection of nutritious sources. Variety and quality are key. Being an eclectic helps, of course!

August 15, 2020 - Issue #1

In This Issue

  1. The Ham Radio Buff
  2. The Website Buff
  3. The Computer Buff
  4. The Weather & Climate Buff
  5. The Writing Buff
  6. The Lay Marketing Buff
  7. An Eclectic's Smorgasbord
  8. Straight Talk

This is not a fluke. No luck involved here. You were not chosen at random! You are receiving this inaugural issue of my newsletter because you recently subscribed to it, a gesture for which I am grateful.

I will strive to meet and hopefully exceed your expectations in every issue. If not, I trust you will let me know.

That being said, by all means read on.

The Ham Radio Buff

"Sharing my ham radio knowledge on"

The latest article published on

6 Meter Ham Band Activity and the Propagation Modes Driving It

You will find it in the Propagation section of my website. The article is about how to keep tabs on 6 meter ham band activity and understanding the propagation modes contributing to the action.

Upcoming Article: A Homemade Four-Dollar CW Practice Oscillator

Side Dish

Two interesting news items:

New! LAN-IQ SDR - Stand Alone Software Defined Radio (Stand-alone SDR). No PC software required! It has its own display. :) By Alex, 4Z5LV.

Assembling and Testing a Cobweb Antenna and Testing it with NanoVNA by M0JCQ

If you have any question or comment about this topic, please do not hesitate to write to me here, care of "The Ham Radio Buff".

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The Website Buff

"Sharing my knowledge of website information architecture and content management, acquired since 2005."

Why should one want to bother with a website?

Precisely when it's not a bother but more of an itch to scratch, a basic need to attend to regularly (or else discomfort sets in), a desire to reach out like sharing one's knowledge.

But, to be successful in reaching its intended audience, a website must meet the search engines' criteria. Here is what Google expects from a website, if it's going to consider it a worthy destination for a search request submitted to its search engine.

Of course, Google tells you, in plain language, what it expects. You are left with the daunting task of finding how to meet its expectations - either on your own or with expert help. I strongly suggest the latter.

Examples of websites that Google approves of? Well, my very own, of course!

But I am not alone! Allow me to introduce some of my acquaintances who are also successful website owners. Here is a couple worth meeting.

Meet Galen Piehl & Nicole Atkins.

They own

Prior to creating a website on tropical snorkeling, their hobby and passion, they owned a natural health and massage business. They would toil, twelve hours a day, inside a building. They were not happy. They wanted to be outdoors, in the ocean.

They sold their business in 2006... and went online to help other snorkelers find the information that was almost nonexistent on the Web at the time. They "cornered the market" as the expression goes.

Thanks to their website, they can fund their trips to the best snorkeling spots in the world. To this day, they share their expertise on their website.

If you write to them, using their contact form, would you do me a favor (favour)? Mention that you read about their website on my newsletter "VE2DPE Eclectic News" from

In the next issue of this newsletter, I'll have you meet Richard Bergman, a guy who is as skilled with a hammer as he is in writing to share his construction experience and help people build decks they will be proud of.

If you have any question or comment about this topic, please do not hesitate to write to me here, care of "The Website Buff".

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The Computer Buff

"Sharing my knowledge of computers, acquired since the late 70s"

Today, I'm writing this newsletter on my main workhorse: an iMac - Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017 - Processor 3.4 GHz Intel Core i5 - Memory 16 GB 2400 MHz DDR4 - Graphics Radeon Pro 570 4 GB) running macOS Mojave version 10.14.6, which I have not upgraded to macOS Catalina on purpose.

I also own a 24-inch iMac, a MacBook Pro laptop, a macMini (to run, 24/7, the software feeding my weather website, an iPAD, a Dell laptop and a Dell desktop. The Dells run Windows.

I use the Dell desktop exclusively in the shack to run ham radio software on Windows 10 or on Linux Mint.

This Month's Topic: The Best Search Engine

The best search engine to look for information on the Web: DuckDuckGO!

Why? Because...

  • It uses the most relevant results from all search engines.
  • It does not track you!
  • It will not serve unwanted ads as top significant results!

Google is out to make a buck. DuckDuckGO is not. Its aim is to help you find what you want, really. Yes, that was Google's intention at first, years ago. Profit making eventually corrupts the best of intentions.

For example, as a test, make like you're suddenly interested in learning more about me. Do a search for Claude Jollet on the Web, using DuckDuckGO. You might even meet my namesake who lives in Poitou, France, where my ancestors came from.

Then, just for fun (!), look up -your- name, or the name of any of your friends or acquaintances who, you think, 'should' be well known on the Web! Go ahead.

It's enlightening.

I'll tell you later in this newsletter, or in another issue of it, how to build a real, inescapable and enviable presence on the Web. But you will have to promise to use that presence wisely and for a worthy cause! I chose to promote amateur radio, "The King of Hobbies". You could too, in your own way... or any other worthy cause.

. . . . .

In the next issue of this newsletter, I'll tell you about the best computer virus protection and the best web browser.

Until then, here is an interesting news item:

Quantum loop: US unveils blueprint for 'virtually unhackable' internet. "US officials and scientists have begun laying the groundwork for a more secure "virtually unhackable" internet based on quantum computing technology."

If you have any question or comment about this topic, please do not hesitate to write to me here, care of "The Computer Buff".

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The Weather & Climate Buff

"Sharing 31 years in meteorology with Canada's Meteorological Service"
The photo is of my Davis Automatic Weather Station "VantageVUE". I collect its data with LightSoft Weather Center LWC V2,10, Build 1813 software.

I then extract what I need from that data with a homemade Perl script with which I then build an HTML page that I subsequently upload to the server hosting my Wx website (in French), automatically, every 15 minutes. The software and scripts have been running 24/7 on my trusted macMINI since May 2011. Tough little beast of burden!

= = = = =

What follows is the kind of stuff we would talk about on night shift, at the weather office, when the weather was nice and we could quietly explore ideas amongst ourselves. I'm retired now, but my mind has not!

Please note. There is a deliberate progression in the presentation of sources of information to introduce you to this first instalment of this topic.

Do not skip a step or you will miss the point.

Are you ready? Here goes.

One . . .

Here is one source of debunked information about climate change.

Its content is all based on 'known' science. Every author, mentioned in that article, "holds a Ph.D. and has recently published articles in top-tier peer-reviewed science journals."

However, you will *not* find research articles that step out of the beaten path to try to answer "what if..." type of questions that an inquisitive mind might ask.

Example of a "what if"?

The magnetic north pole is accelerating its drift toward Siberia. Here is a credible source reporting that fact:

"The reason (behind the drifting of the magnetic north pole) is turbulence in Earth's liquid outer core" states University of Maryland geophysicist Daniel Lathrop.

What if... this "turbulence" causing the drifting magnetic north pole is :

  1. causing disturbances in the earth's atmosphere above,
  2. hence causing the changes in climate we are experiencing?

(Far-fetched? How about this other phenomena? Scientists have recently found out that earthquakes impact (bump up and otherwise disturb) the ionospheric layers we so depend on for HF DX!)

I would love that scientists, of all disciplines - who are not afraid to lose (tenure, funding, reputation) and not afraid to make mistakes - would investigate this, in a collaborative manner.

They might, if they dare, end up saying" "Well, I'll be darned!" No. The vast majority of scientists have too much to lose by betting their reputation on anything but a "sure thing". I know because I have worked with a representative sample of them during my career in meteorology.

"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." Albert Einstein

Just saying. ;)

Above all, everything in nature is inexorably intertwined. The earth's atmosphere does not behave in isolation from all other natural dynamic occurrences, both on and within the earth, as well as in our solar system, to which we are tied intimately.

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination." Albert Einstein

I live by that quote.

Two . . .

I submit this TED Talk as food for thought. It sets the stage for what I believe we should take into consideration: multidisciplinary study of the causes behind our present day climate changes.

I have my own theory which is:

  1. related to plate tectonics,
  2. which, in turn, is responsible for oceans warming and, thus,
  3. contributing (massively) to global atmospheric warming...
  4. and the climate changes we are experiencing today.

Thrreee . . .

Here is a hint at what I'm driving at. The punch that should galvanize us all - open-minded individuals - into collective multidisciplinary action. This will blow your mind!

Are you with me now?

I'll tell you more about it in my next issue of this newsletter.

If you have any question or comment about this topic, please do not hesitate to write to me here, care of the "The Weather & Climate Buff".

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The Writing Buff

"Sharing my nonfiction writing experience which began in the mid 60s."
To start off this series of quick introductions to the art and craft of writing for one's own pleasure and other's enjoyment, I warmly suggest that you read "The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles" by Steven Pressfield, ISBN-13: 978-1936891023. A real gem of a read for any writer, regardless of genre.

Meanwhile, in the news on the writer's front.

Here is what I have in my rear view mirror. I love technology but I can't help but smile at this one. Let's have some fun!

News About AI writing!

Here is what Google is experimenting on.

Absolutely fascinating experiment, but only if you are, or intend to become, a fiction writer. It appears to be great to spark the imagination of writers when they are stuck staring at a blank page.

However, it would be useless to a nonfiction writer like me because I write about thoroughly researched and verifiable facts, to help my readers understand, as well as doable hands-on experiments in the realm of ham radio, to help my readers take action.

Here is one AI Writer application you can actually have fun experimenting with yourself.

You may also want to read these two articles from reliable sources:

. . . . .

In the next issue of this newsletter, I'll tell you about a writing aid that professional writers from all over the world use on a daily basis.I'll also mention writing aids that others use for less demanding writings.

Meanwhile, if you have any question or comment about this topic, please do not hesitate to write to me here, care of the "The Writing Buff".

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The Lay Marketing Buff

"Sharing the online marketing experience that I have acquired since 2005"
The photo of a pewter tortoise symbolizes the slow, savvy determination required to succeed in online marketing.

Hard Facts

For those of you who are entertaining, or have ever entertained, the idea of making money online, don't... until you have taken the following three inescapable facts into serious consideration.


If you are in a hurry... you will never make any money online! Why? Because if you are going to sell anything, on a consistent basis, you will have to gain the trust of your intended audience first. That cannot happen overnight.

It will take months of patient work to build the credibility and trust required to sell your product(s) and/or services... unless all you want to sell are products from well-known brands. Then you can just put up a shopping cart on a one-page website and get your kicks competing with Amazon and eBay! Good luck with that!


If you don't like (love) to express yourself in writing, at length, you will never make it. Why? Because, unless you rely only on video & voice - a YouTube Channel, for example - and that requires special talents - to gain trust and convince your intended audience of your expertise and persuade him/her to buy... you are going to have to rely on well-chosen words and fine-tuned sentences. I'm talking oodles of helpful decision-making content here. Nothing short of that will work.


If you think a website is like a huge billboard that the eye can't miss because it's so big and eye-appealing that one cannot help but notice and be influenced into buying whatever it is that is being advertised (pushed in the face) while you are stuck in traffic and nowhere else to go (for now)... you are way, way off base, and you'll never make it.

A website is totally invisible... until Google, or some other search engine, offers it to you as a potential destination to get what you are looking for.

Please note that you relied on words to query the search engine. You do not ask Google to find the most beautiful site on mountain biking. It will come back to you with words... and a few snapshots of bikes, not websites!

In short...

Like in baseball, three strikes and you're out!

Trust me. I tried, when I was younger, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed... and somewhat foolhardy!

Also, like in baseball, you need a very competent coach to train you to become a winner.

I might be persuaded to tell you where you can get such a coach, if you ask me nicely! ;)

. . . . .

In the next issue of this newsletter, I'll explain the critical importance of understanding the difference between advertising and promoting a credible online presence... if you ever want to make any money online, that is.

Meanwhile, if you have any question or comment about this topic, please do not hesitate to write to me here, care of the "The Lay Marketing Buff".

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An Eclectic's Smorgasbord

"I'm not Einstein (not by a long shot) but I too have always been passionately curious!"
The Book I Am Reading Now to Learn Something

"The Prime Number Conspiracy: the biggest ideas in math" from Quanta ISBN:9780262536356, MIT Press, 2018

I have to take this one in very slowly. It's pretty dense, even if it is written in a very easy-to-read style. I only pick it up when I'm in the right frame of mind. When I am, it's totally engrossing.

The Last Book I Read to Relax

An old paperback copy of "The Brass Verdict" by Michael Connelly. Had not read it in years. Still very satisfying. I love police procedurals and courtroom dramas (à la John Grisham) and plausible sci-fi (à la Michael Crichton) and... well, you get the idea.

The Last Article I Read That Blew My Mind

"How Earth’s Climate Changes Naturally and Why Things Are Different Now: Earth’s climate has fluctuated through deep time, pushed by 10 different causes. Here’s how each compares with modern climate change". July 21, 2020. Quanta Magazine.

Taken individually, each of the 10 causes is easy to understand. I found it incredible that they were described separately, with no possible interaction mentioned. Why? Because my question is: What happens when two or more natural causes happen in phase?

Or, when an unlisted (unintentionally ignored) natural phenomenon is thrown in the mix? For example... An increase of deep-sea volcanic eruptions, caused by more frequent tectonic plaque movements, which are caused by..."The reason (behind the drifting of the magnetic north pole) is turbulence in Earth's liquid outer core" University of Maryland geophysicist Daniel Lathrop." That is what might be happening now.

I'll explain my point of view in more detail in an upcoming issue of this newsletter. I've already introduced a few useful concepts to mull over in the preceding section of this newsletter titled "The Weather & Climate Buff."

Ted Talks Devoted to “ideas worth spreading”

Out of this fascinating presentation, one statement stood out to me: “Education is what people do to you. Learning is what you do to yourself”, not to mention the new operative word, “now-ist”.

The content of this presentation speaks to me as a ham radio antenna experimenter. I like to try something new, especially when theory and science say it can't work. Consider bumble bees. In theory, those little furry balls with short wings should not be able to fly, but they do, honey!

So. Let's never shy away from experimenting, especially when your peers – and scientists with a mortal fear of losing their reputation and research funding – say it can't/won't work.

It's stepping out of the beaten path into the wild. The feeling you get when it works, against all odds, is positively addictive. It's called “innovation” folks.

"Hi. My Name is Claude and I'm a Netflix Addict!"

The film that most impressed me on Netflix last month was: "Inception" starring Leonardo DiCaprio. IMDB:8.8 ... Mind bending, dystopian and slick. Absolute delight!

What's Next? You never know... because I don't know myself, yet!

Meanwhile, if you have any question or comment about this topic, please do not hesitate to write to me here, care of the "An Eclectic's Smorgasbord".

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Straight Talk

Here is what Rod Long, KI7YGW, had to say about my eBook, "Amateur Radio HF Antennas - Book 5":

"How the heck did you ever pack this much knowledge in a book so down to earth and practical? Thank you sooo much for your gift of keeping things simple and clear for us nuts and bolts kind of guys!"

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Where Else Can We Get Together?

Meet me @VE2DPE on Twitter. I'm on 'almost' every day... when I'm not writing content for or for this newsletter... or answering email requests for additional information... or doing research for the aforementioned activities ;-)

The End... For Now!

This free newsletter "VE2DPE Eclectic News" is published by Claude Jollet VE2DPE, owner and editor of If you liked its contents, "pay it forward" and send it to a friend. If you are not already a subscriber, don't rely on hand-me-downs! Please consider subscribing here.

Now that you have read this issue, I would love to know what you think of it. Please tell me here.

See you next month, on the 15th, at the "crack of dawn"! :)

73 de VE2DPE

Claude Jollet

P.S. If you have not already done so, please consider buying one of my eBooks on "Amateur Radio HF Antennas". Click here.

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