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VE2DPE Eclectic News: Issue #2 - Food for Your Hungry Neurons
September 15, 2020

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

What do I feed my hungry neurons to keep them rocking? Simple. I feed them a steady diet of information from a wide selection of nutritious sources. Variety and quality are key. Being eclectic helps, of course!

September 15, 2020 - Issue #2

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

You are receiving this issue of my newsletter because you 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

I wrote an article on my experimental NVIS (Near-Vertical Incidence Skywave) portable homemade antenna.

In the article, I give instructions on how to build a portable linear-loaded dipole NVIS antenna for 40 meters, capable of reaching stations 150 km (nearly 100 miles) away, sometimes way more, depending on propagation and time of day/night... and all on QRP! I also demonstrate its very quiet (very little QRN and QRM pickup) receiving capabilities.

My article was also featured in the NAQCC Issue #266 August 2020 Newsletter, page 27.

(P.S. I know. Last month, I had promised you an article on "A Homemade Four-Dollar CW Practice Oscillator". It just got shifted down the priority pile. I'll get it done eventually. ;)

Two Side Dishes This Month

Side Dish #1

Here is a new and exciting SDR receiver. Silphase Technologies, a Polish company, announced in July the SILPHASE R1, "The Innovative HF Receiver with High Performance Real-Time Spectrum Scope". It is full-featured and it's "Expected Operational Lifetime is 30 Years"! You can preorder one now, if you are the adventurous kind.

The SILPHASE R1 SDR runs under the QNX O/S, a true real-time operating system that I am proud to say was developed in Canada in the early 80s and has never stopped improving. Their Web site states: "QNX: When failure is not an option" and they mean it. Check out the QNX Web site. It's impressive.

Silphase Technologies plans to introduce a 25W transceiver at the end of 2020. It will have the same form factor as the SILPHASE R1, be powered by an internal battery and, (I'm assuming), will also run under QNX. If it does, it might prove to be a game changer in the SDR XCVR arena.

Side Dish #2

The Ham Nation Episodes hosted by Bob Heil, K9EID, and ham friends. You can subscribe to their audio and/or video episodes. Not all episodes will strike my fancy. But because they cover so many aspects of ham radio, there is information for every taste. You are sure to find something you will like. Just browse through their past episodes.

Those who have bought my eBooks on Amateur Radio HF Antennas know that I love that particular aspect of ham radio. I liked the episode #460 about indoor antennas that work with Jim Cessna, AC0KN, (starts at about 5:25 minutes into the video and ends near minutes 13:50) describing his attic antenna.

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."

Last month, I revealed who should bother creating a Web site and why I created But there are countless other examples out there of successful sites.

This month, I'd like you to meet Richard Bergman. His accomplishment illustrates the potential of a well-thought-out site based on solid knowledge and a passion for sharing it.

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. He owns

Quoting from his website: "Rich started his first contracting company at age 21 but began swinging a hammer much earlier than that and comes from a family of builders and engineers.

He shares his first-hand experience from job sites. He is a creative force and innovator of building products and he loves to help people build and design to their true potential."

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... (To avoid being repetitious, the remainder of this introduction is still available in issue #1 of this newsletter.)

Feedback from last month:

A subscriber indicated that he had switched from DuckDuckGo search engine to Swisscows. It had been quite a while since I had last given it a good look.

I now have to agree. The Swisscows search engine is better than DuckDuckGo in many respects, which means that it is light years better that Google! Check out Swisscows' About Us page then give it a whirl. I'm sold. :)

This Month's IT Topics

  • The best computer virus protection
  • The best web browser
  • The easiest to learn programming language

The Best Computer Virus Protection

It's Bitdefender. I have tried many other antivirus software. Some come close but have never quite equaled its effectiveness... in the past 18 years! My Internet Service Provider (ISP) - Videotron - even recommends Bitdefender to its subscribers simply because it's the most reliable.

The Best Web Browser

It's Firefox. Why? Because it blocks over 2000 trackers and, thus, protects your privacy. It's fast too! It's been my default browser for years, both on my Macs and PCs. Oh! On my iPhone too!

Python: easy and versatile computer programming language

Some of my newsletter subscribers noticed the snapshot of computer code heading this section. Curious, they have written in to ask about the Python programming language. Here is a quick introduction which, hopefully, will convince some of you to try your hand at coding with it.

  • Python is an easy-to-learn, powerful programming language.
  • It's an ideal language for scripting and rapid application development in many areas on most platforms.
  • The Python interpreter and the extensive standard library are freely available.

This Python tutorial introduces the reader informally to the basic concepts and features of the Python language and system.

Here is the official reference to the Python programming language.

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 my 31 years in meteorology with Canada's Meteorological Service"

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!

Diving Into The Depths

Quoting the Encyclopedia Britannica: "During the late 20th and early 21st centuries, it became apparent that plate-tectonic processes profoundly influence the composition of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans, serve as a prime cause of long-term climate change, and make significant contributions to the chemical and physical environment in which life evolves."

Did you watch this video, mentioned in my last issue of this newsletter? I said, "Here is a hint at what I'm driving at. The punch that should galvanize us all - open-minded individuals - into collective action." Run it again and, this time, pay particular attention to:

- 72% of our planet is ocean which means, if you do the math, only 28% is land! I submit that the oceans have a tremendous (overwhelming) influence on our global climate. I'll explain why and how in a moment with basic meteorology.

Here are some other key elements of information in this presentation that I want you to pay particular attention to:

- "continental drift" (about minute 1:50 into the presentation) - a phenomenon (fact) that was not even acceptable ("laughed at") 40 years ago. That's "yesterday" in geological time scale! Remember this as we move on here.

- "plate tectonics... the greatest mountain range on Earth lies beneath the sea" (around minute 5:00)

- "Almost a quarter of our planet is a single (submerged) mountain range!" (around minute 5:10)

- "... it's along the axis of the mid-ocean ridge where the great crustal plates are separating. And like a living organism, you tear it open, it bleeds its molten blood, rises up to heal that wound from the asthenosphere, hardens, forms new tissue and moves laterally." (around minute 05:50)

- "Running along this entire 42,000 miles (the Great Rift Valley) are tens of thousands of active volcanoes! There are more active volcanoes beneath the sea than on land (about 500 on land, worldwide, according to the USGS) by two orders of magnitude (so that means about 50,000 active volcanoes at the bottom of the ocean!) So, it's a phenomenally active region... and it's then being ripped open!" (around minute 07:10).


Our oceans are sitting on a hot stove! Tens of thousands of active volcanoes contribute - non-stop - to warming the oceans. Normally, there is not enough deep-sea volcanic activity to make the global ocean temperature rise. The sheer volume of water is just too great.

But, if deep-sea volcanic activity were to increase appreciably, over just a few decades ...

This video explains how deep ocean currents could ensure the redistribution of this extra heated deep-sea water around the world.

In basic meteorology, we learn that the troposphere (lower atmosphere) is warmed (or cooled) by being in contact with a warm (or cold) surface. In other words, the sun does not warm the air. It warms the ground. Then, the ground warms the air in contact with it - when it's warmer than the overlying air, of course!

Now, 72% of the earth's surface is open sea water... and it's running a temperature! What do you think is happening to the atmosphere which is in contact with it? Exactly! It is being warmed. Globally.

Therefore, I submit that "the oceans have a tremendous (overwhelming) warming influence on our global climate", and it's because of increasing deep-sea volcanic activity.

Granted, man's contribution of greenhouse effect gases only makes matters worse, but only to a degree (no pun intended).

Asking for Your Help!

I am looking for scientific papers which will either support or contradict my assertion. If you know of any such scientific papers, would you let me know here, please?

What Could Cause an Increase of Deep-Sea Volcanic Activity?

That's the question I will try to answer in my next issue.

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."
Last month I shared one of my favorite books: "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield. Did you like it?

If you already love to write, but lack confidence in your ability to write well, then I highly recommend this book: The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.

Writing Aids

Last month, I promised that I would tell you about a writing aid that professional writers from all over the world use on a daily basis - and that I would also mention writing aids that others use for less demanding writing.


This is an indispensable writing aid for writers whose livelihood depends on writing texts of professional quality. Antidote is also just as effective for professional French writers. This software is so unique that they have no competitor at their level.


This software is for writers whose writings have a less critical mission. However, their texts still have to be grammatically correct and devoid of spelling errors. Grammarly can only give meaningful results if the sentences in the text have a minimum of structure and the punctuation is at least adequate. Their competitors are: Language Tool, Ginger Software, WhiteSmoke, SpellCheckPlus, Hemingway Editor, Writer's Workbench, Word Rake.

Going a step further...


Self-publishing is easy when you can have access to reliable guidance and proven writing and publishing software tools.

To start you off on the right foot, I highly recommend this eBook Let's Get Digital: How to Self-Publish, And Why You Should (Fourth Edition) by David Gaughran.

Once you have read this excellent introduction to self-publishing, you will have acquired the necessary background to take the next steps, beginning with the art and techniques of writing for writers aspiring to publish.

I can help you with those next steps... if enough of you express a desire to know more about self-publishing.

The devil is in the details, as the saying goes, and I'm good at explaining what to do and how, in a step-by-step manner, in an easy-to-understand language.

Why can I claim that? Because I have gone through the entire process many times and I have succeeded as a self-published author of nonfiction. I'm not boasting. I just know what it takes. If you need proof, just look me up - Claude Jollet - on Amazon in the books category. Look at the ratings my eBooks get.

So, again, if enough of you, dear readers, show interest, I will reveal all that I know about self-publishing. Just let me know here if you are interested. Don't forget to mention that it's about self-publishing.

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"
Last month, I promised I would explain the critical importance of understanding the difference between advertising and promoting a credible online presence... if you ever want to make any money (or headway) online, that is.

Advertising vs Promoting

Traditional advertising is random and "lossy". Most people, when they see a traditional ad, are either :

  • Not receptive (busy at the moment, their thoughts are elsewhere)
  • Uninterested (they don't need what you have to offer).

Traditional advertising makes you throw away money and precious time on haphazard results, which businesses and nonprofits can ill afford to lose.

Traditional advertising is so inefficient that it often costs thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the level and size of the competition you are trying to overwhelm.

Large corporations can afford to do that. But solopreneurs and nonprofits cannot. Some try, of course, because they believe that they can get quicker results that way... but it's at their own expense, in every sense of the word.

No thanks. I prefer to speak directly to those who, intentionally, come knocking on my door ( looking for answers and useful, actionable information. My job then is to deliver and, in some cases, overdeliver.

I do not have to look for my potential customers. They come to me!

When they do land on my Web site, they are "focused" and, thus, predisposed and likely receptive to the decision-making information I will present to them. Their minds are not elsewhere. They are concentrating on getting answers. Where?

Where they chose to actively look: www.HamRadioSecrets.

My Web site is promoting and getting results. But most entrepreneurs and nonprofits choose to advertise at random... and getting random results. Pity.

How to Get People to Come to You?.

If any of you want to know how one can build a significant inviting presence on the Web, for commercial purposes, or not, let me know here. I'll be happy to oblige in an upcoming issue of this newsletter.

(Spoiler alert. It boils down to three letters: SBI!)

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 am still working on this one!... 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

"Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikolas Tesla", by Seifer, Marc J., Citadel Press. Kindle Edition. May 1998. ISBN-13: 978-0-8065-3996-6

This eBook had glowing reviews from very reputable sources such as, Nature, MIT's Technology Review, Science, New York Times... to name but a few.

I was already curious to learn more about this precursor of our great hobby, ham radio.

The eBook has exceeded my expectations!

The Last Article I Read That Blew My Mind

Global Wave Discovery Ends 220-Year Search

"Scientists have discovered a complex set of pressure waves that race around Earth at speeds exceeding most aircraft". To be exact, French scientist Pierre-Simon Laplace had deduced (theorized) as much, in the late 1700s.

But recently, scientists Sakazaki and Hamilton were finally able to verify and confirm their presence! They published their findings in the July 2020 issue of the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences.

This recent turn of events will help improve global atmospheric models on which meteorologists (weather forecasters) rely on to forecast weather, especially long-range forecasts and perhaps even seasonal trend forecasting.

It all began when “Laplace wondered to what degree the moon gravitationally squeezes the air surrounding our planet, and he set out to analyze the types of waves that might emerge as a consequence.”

What's next? Will some scientists finally “discover” that some scientist of the past had indeed stumbled upon the extent to which the sun has influence on our climate... changes?

In light of the above "discovery", you never know!

Ted Talks Devoted to “ideas worth spreading”

OK. Time to relax. This TED talk is for you if you have some time on your hands and are feeling slightly cheeky (most of the time). It's titled: “This is what happens when you reply to spam email”.

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

There are a few movies that I particularly liked. Here is my top ten list... for now.

Erin Brockavitch – Why? Because it stars Julia Roberts, of course. Besides, it's a great story of determination and resourcefulness.

Spotlight – because it's most satisfying for the soul. I just loved these guys & gals “sock it to 'em”. I really do.

The Big Short – starring Christian Bale (priceless), Steve Carell, et al. I had read the book. While I had found it fascinating, the movie gave it all the life it deserved.

The Insider – starring Al Pacino and Russel Crowe. Talk about turning anger into devastatingly effective courage! A Powerful story.

Martian - starring Matt Damon. I had read the book and risked watching the movie. Why risk? Because a movie rarely lives up to my imagination! Well, this one outdid mine. Great!

Interstellar - starring Matthew McConaughey was quite good too.

A Beautiful Mind – starring Russel Crowe. Fascinating.

Good Will Hunting – starring Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Robin Williams. From unrecognized genius to exploitable to liberated. Feel good movie.

The Firm – starring Tom Cruise. Had read the book (I'm a great fan of the writer John Grisham used to be). Lived up to my expectations in spades.

All The President's Men – starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.

Dallas Buyer's Club – starring Matthew McConaughey. Absolutely brilliant performance. What a story, both on screen and behind the scene!

Money Ball – starring Brad Pitt. Loved it because of the novel and intelligent use of statistics that changed baseball (and most team sports) forever. Hate the ending, though.

Ok. I know. That's twelve. So what? Just be thankful because I could have listed my top fifty! Seriously. ;)

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 Steve Stiles, W0ZZG, had to say about my Web site - "I found your website via Google and knew I had struck the mother lode. I'd like to thank you for the treasure trove of information here. I can only hope to someday be as knowledgeable and helpful as you. I will share your link(s) with others. Yours is a gold mine I want others to find too".

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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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