Al Taylor is speaking January 13th @ HacDC 7:30 PM

Al KN3U, presenter

Our speaker for the January 13  meeting is Al Taylor, KN3U. He is an electrical engineer who has been involved in emergency preparedness and disaster response at the local, state, and Federal level for over thirty years, initially as a volunteer communicator and later as a full-time employee of the US Public Health Service. He will be talking about opportunities for technically-minded individuals to use our skills to make a huge difference in the lives of others – and play with some cool stuff.


CQ World Wide Cw Dx Contest

HacDC is the place to be if you are an amateur radio operator or if you are interested in learning about amateur radio, antennas, radio propagation and Morse Code.  The CQ World Wide CW DX Contest is the worlds largest radio event of the year.  Our transmitting power is 100 watts.  The contest starts Friday, November 27th at 7 pm and continues til Sunday, November 29th at 7 pm.  We bounce radio signals around the world.  Visit for details and contest rules.

How to Basic: Workshopping Email Encryption

On Monday night a group of newcomers and old-comers got together at HacDC to share ideas and practices about securely using email in our day to day lives. As an organizer and a newcomer, I felt like I learned a bit about how email encryption works and what motivates people to come do something out of the ordinary on a Monday night.


Using GPG signatures with email is a two way street. It is useless if only one party signs their messages and no one checks the signature. This is why very few people use real digital signatures when sending email. Usually there is no one on the other end to check it. This boils down to the problem of distributing keys through public key infrastructure (PKI). The existing GPG PKI was much ragged on in the halls of my University’s CS department.

However, I was surprised by how easy it was to share keys among participants of the meet-up through the GPG key servers. While key sharing between two people who have never met each other might still be a challenge, sharing keys among friends is a solved problem. This is a good thing.


Dining cryptographers sometimes starve.

Keeping a disparate group of hungry proto-cryptographers interested in teaching each other for its own sake is separate problem. Despite the lack of structure, a presentation, or formal anything I think every participant walked away from the workshop with some new knowledge. This is also good.

I am not quite sure what the next How To Workshop will be about. However, there was interest in going deeper into the email world. This might become How To Workshop about setting up your own mail server. It seemed like a few folks in the room had done it before and learned a lot from the experience. I – however – still want to learn about flashing openWRT. So we will see who can teach what when, but look out for the next one in early December and see if you can come out!