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SparkCC Saturdays

It's been a long time coming but we're pleased to announce that starting Saturday April 9th SparkCC will be open for making on the 2nd Saturday of every month!

This is the perfect chance for all of you Central Coast makers who are busy on Tuesday evenings to come check out the space, meet the Sparkers and work on some exciting projects!

Hope to see you there. Stay tuned for more details...

Col from CCARC presents Software Defined Radio

Last week Col from the Central Coast Amateur Radio Club visited SparkCC's regular Tuesday night meetup to present to us a demonstration of Software Defined Radio.

An impressively-proportioned temporary antenna set up in the SparkCC driveway (sadly only captured in a photograph after the presentation when the light was poor) would allow us to communicate on the 40-meter band favoured by amateur radio enthusiasts worldwide.

Of course plenty of Sparkers have built projects incorporating radio in the form of 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz wifi. But most had little exposure to "pure" radio so Col started out with some basic theory and a discussion of how the various components traditionally used for amateur radio had developed over time.

Then we saw how several of these components may now be replicated by software thanks to recent advances in digital electronics - what we refer to as Software Defined Radio. Col passed around his own kit-built SDR before plugging it in and firing it up!

The number of functions available, ability to visualise signal and the precision tuning affored by SDR certainly represent a huge leap forward! And with Col's antenna we were able to pick up transmissions from various remote sources, though alas there were no Mandarin speakers present to translate...

A thoroughly interesting and educational evening - many thanks Col! We're always interested in learning about interesting maker-related topics so if you're not a Sparker but you'd be interested in giving a presentation on any topic please get in touch. We'd love to meet you!

Also SparkCC will be hosting a stand at CCARC's Annual Field Day on Sunday Feb 28th. We'll be demonstrating 3d modelling + printing as well as a few other projects that we've been working on. So come along, meet some Sparkers and see what's happening in the world of Amateur Radio.

Build Your Own Lightsaber Workshop

Following our successful EL Wire Wearables workshop, SparkCC was very pleased to host another in our series of events leading up to next month's Lumenmotion festival.

This time around Jedi Master and long-time Sparker Jo would be taking participants through the process of building their own lightsaber from scratch!

In this slightly more advanced workshop, participants were taught basic electronics and soldering skills.

Working together on our Jedi production line we soldered together battery packs...

...cut and stripped wires...

...and put the finishing touches on our lightsaber parts, ready for assembly.

Everyone worked really hard and it was very exciting when the lightsabers began to come together.

The finished lightsabers were illuminated by strips of RGB LEDs allowing the Jedi wielder to change the colour of their blade at will!

Many impromptu lightsaber duels soon broke out...

...and Lumenmotion organiser Brian was soon forced to defend himself against a posse of brave young Jedi:

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants (who had travelled from as far away as Sydney and Newcastle) all went home with the final step of their Jedi training complete!

All that was left was for Jedi Master Jo and SparkCC President James to fight it out to determine who would be presenting the next workshop...

Lumenmotion workshops at SparkCC

We're very excited to announce our first ever SparkCC workshops!

Both of these workshops will teach elements of basic electronics and attendees will finish with a beautiful illuminated piece to wear/take to the inaugural LumenMotion Festival in November.

On Saturday October 17, Ty will present a workshop on making your own wearable electronics using EL Wire. Tickets available here.

Then on Saturday October 24, Jo will present a workshop showing how to build your own colour-changing lightsaber! TIckets available here.

Tickets to both workshops are very limited to if you're interested in attending be sure to secure yours quickly!

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