5 things that used to be common around me

1. Photo Albums Collection
I’m not talking about Flickr, Picasa or Fotopages (de facto Malaysian online photo album site), but I’m talking about the classic Photo Album books. Once, every household must have Photo Albums, whether it is about Weddings, Family Vacation, New Born Baby, or just some random photos. Back in those days photo album housed 3R sized photos that was taken by cameras that used 35mm photographic film (some of them needs to be rewound manually!).

In Malaysia (at least in Malay culture, more than 15 years ago), photo albums is a common item in every house and are usually stored in the Living Room, where it served as a sort of entertainment to the guests. Makcik/Pakcik/Acquaintance of the family would be invited to browse through photo albums while the host prepare refreshment, this is the usual practice especially when the guest just stop by the house because the want to visit (read: ziarah) the host who are just back from a long vacation (ie: umrah, etc) or recently wed, or just having a newborn baby.

Photo Album

I think most of you would agree that photo albums have become less significant nowadays. How many are you that still keep these photo albums? I think the only photo album still common in every household is the wedding photo album, and I bet that was stashed in parts unknown, somewhere under the bed or closet instead of the living room.

Photo Album

p/s: Photo Albums becomes so rare that I even had difficulties in getting its sample image.

2. Public Phone (Booth)
Remember public phone ? It was very common to have phone booth around back then, 15 years ago. The older generation phone booth accepts coins, and the newer one accepts prepaid phone card which you can buy from convenience store. Now since almost everybody afford to own a mobile phone, phone booth is less common now.

Phone booth was previously a required fixture in public university and colleges and shopping complexes, now its almost nowhere to be seen

p/s: I fondly recalled my friends used to get free calls from public phones using a technique call “short mengeshort” which involves the use of paperclip around late 1990s.

3. TM-Issued Phone Directory Book
Previously Phone Directory Book is a must-have for every household that have fixed-line phone. Divided into three main parts (Peach Pages, White Pages and Yellow Pages), the Peach Page list the phone numbers of government agencies as well as their addresses. White Page on the other hand list the fixed-line phone numbers of common folks, together with their addresses arranged in alphabetical order. Yellow pages was once a must-have addition to the phone directory because it lists the phone number of the nearest exterminators, furniture store and workshop service.

When did the last time you’ve even refer the TM-issued Phone Directory Book?

4. Rabbit Ear Antenna
Back 10-15 years ago, almost every home relies on the venerable Rabbit Ear Antenna for TV Reception, couple with Booster (most popular in Perlis, Malaysia), you will get excellent reception of the government-run RTM station ( TV1, TV2) with a slight drawback as boostered Rabbit Ear antenna is very sensitive to kereta kontrol (RC Car).

Now most people would either subscribed to Astro, or in my case – The Torrent TV station, which requires neither Rabbit Ear Antenna nor Booster.

Here is the photo of a rabbit ear antenna:

Rabbit Ears Antenna

5. Cassette and Sony Walkman Portable Player
Once considered a cool gadget that Johnny Depp used to strap around his waist on “Nightmare on Elm Street” :


Sony Walkman Cassette Player

The cassette and Sony Walkman was considered one of the common item for teenagers. It runs on TWO (2) AA batteries with the most advance type display digital readouts and can even ‘flip’ the cassette automatically. Sony Walkman even has AMS feature (Automatic Music Sensor) where it can detect the start of a song automatically when using fast-forward/reverse (just like switching CD track).

Cassette and Walkman (portable cassette player) are now has been displaced by MP3 players, iPods or plain Feature Phone.

The tallest and biggest half wave radio antenna ever built

Hi there people! I think most of this blog readers are familiar with half-wave antenna such as the 2 meter dipole I’ve built as a side project (with height about 1 meter by itself).

But do you know the height of the tallest and biggest half-wave antenna ever built in the world? is it 30 meters? 50 meters? 100 meters? Nope.. the answer is 646.38 m or 2,120.67 feet high when measured from its base on the ground.

Unlike other ordinary radio tower which is build to ensure you can put the antenna at the highest point, the Warsaw radio mast acts as a half-wave antenna itself!

It height 646.38 meter is the exact length of the frequency it was transmitting which is 225kHz, most probably using this formula

half-wavelength = 300/freq * 0.5 * velocity factor
= 300/0.225 * 0.5 * 0.97
= 646 meter.

As comparison, my homebrew half-wave antenna is only 0.996 meter in length, and is drastically dwarf by the Warsaw radio mast radiator.

warsaw radio mast 2    warsaw radio mast 2

Completed in 1974, the Warsaw radio mast transmit public broadcast radio station using 2 megawatts on 225kHz frequency. It was also the tallest structure in the world (recorded on Guinness Book of Records) until it finally collapse on 1991 due to maintenance crew failure.

Despite its collapse and inoperability for more than a decade. The Warsaw radio mast still remained the tallest/biggest (and the only longwave LF ) half-wave antenna ever build in the world,

Impressive isn’t it? Take a look at the antenna site in Wikimapia.

Read more about Warsaw Radio Mast in Wikipedia.

Amateur Radio Coax Cable Power Loss calculator (RG 58, RG-8)

Ever wonder how much power is loss in your coax cable feedline? Here is a website which helps you estimate power loss in your antenna feedline according to your choice of coax cable.

For example :

coax power loss
RG-58coax power loss results

If you are transmitting on 145 MHz frequency with 65 Watt of power using 15 meter RG-58 cable, the maximum effective power radiated by your antenna is just about half of the transmitting power (36.156 MHz).

But when you switch to RG-8 cable, the loss would be significantly lower, and your antenna would radiate 54 Watt of power.

Since the power loss is significant, it is advisable that you consider the choice of your feedline before setting up your station. In emergency or QRP situation, every 1 Watt counts.

If you have no other choice other than to use RG-58 cable, it is advisable to put your antenna as high as possible with the shortest amount of cable possible. This will save your rig a lot of hard work, and may actually get your signal to travel further than before

How much power loss in your feedline ? Check it at Coax Cable and Line Loss Calculator website