HAM helping fight COVID

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KH6OWL, Oct 1, 2020.

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  1. KH6OWL

    KH6OWL Ham Member QRZ Page

    WK1K, Dwayne Jeffery, or as he is known as, DJ, is working with the University of Hawaii to come up with a Non-Invasive Real-Time COVID Testing device.

    His Texas address, on QRZ, was a mail drop that is no longer active. At that time he was driving around the country in a big motor home for two years. DJ says “it had two bathrooms, and believe me .. you need it!”

    DJ got his General class (W8PID) when he was 14 with a bunch of guys from his high school. DJ Said “We had gone to a weekly nighttime class on theory and code for about 4 months.” He wasn’t old enough to drive, so he made a “bicycle mobile” with a low power CW transmitter and a converted transistor radio on 40 meters cw. He would strap the key to his knee and a whip antenna strapped on the rear wheel frame. DJ says he actually did get some contacts on that set up. He went through expensive batteries like crazy and had to get a paper route to support the hobby. At home DJ had a 160-meter, 80-watt, AM station with a 240-foot-long wire. DJ and another guy, who was 14 years old, played on-air chess using short burst transmissions making moves that lasted hours. “Apparently, my signal was really strong (probably the long wire), and the “old timers” on 160 would get really mad at us taking up “their frequency” with such teenage “antics”. Oh well..”

    Two years later he built a car from junk parts, joined a rock & roll band and got a good-looking girlfriend. At the same time, he enrolled for an EE degree at a local college, so ham radio got put on hold for a while. The old timers on 160 celebrated his departure.

    Halfway through school, DJ was eligible for the draft (Viet Nam era) so he signed up with the USAF and got out 4 years later and went back to finish his degree.

    DJ then got a job with RCA BMEWS in Greenland for a while, came home and worked with RCA computer division as a software/system engineer.

    After RCA computer division went out of business, he went to work with Sanders Associates in New Hampshire doing microprocessor R&D, and then to signal processing contracting with government agencies. He also did some work with the Army and Navy on radio direction finding.

    DJ mentioned that he had a lot of fun working for Milton Bradley developing video games and electronic toys for a while.

    Somewhere in that time he also shared his name on 8 patents for pattern recognition and laser imaging.

    This brings us to present day where he recently started contracting with Antenum Inc. (SEEQR) on signal processing and pattern recognition projects. One of the projects was to detect the presence of explosives embedded within the human body using Nuclear Quadrupole Resonance (NQR). This technology exploits the reaction of molecular structures to radio wave excitation by momentary alignment in phase and producing detectable energy at its resonant frequency. DJ states that “the problem is that the signal we are looking for is very small and has a very short duration and that is the what we need to solve.

    SEEQR is a walk-through portal that promises to offer non-invasive, real-time, accurate COVID testing. In addition, it will simultaneously test for antibodies. As simple as walking through a metal detector, SEEQR won’t require medical personnel, supplies, or invasive procedures. Unlike thermal scanning, SEEQR will detect viral loads long before symptoms appear, and unlike DNA-based tests, SEEQR will detect the virus even if no longer present in the nose or saliva.

    SEEQR was developed In the 2011-2015 timeframe at the behest of Homeland Security, which was looking for a new means to detect explosives being carried onto airplanes. The system was successfully tested at JFK airport in NYC. It was also able to detect minute amounts of explosive residue.

    According to DJ, he did most of the software on the original project that was performing explosive detection, except the core signal processing detection algorithms done by Dr. John Apostolos.

    “Although I originally have a hardware background. it has been so long I can only build something if it has tubes with filament voltages hahaha.”

    “Other NQR devices require pulsed energy at very high power, unsafe for human use. The uniqueness of SEEQR is that it uses low power and low frequencies safe for humans.

    The theory that works for explosive detection, should be applicable for viruses. We are now re-purposing SEEQR to detect the COVID virus.”

    From the website: “The Promise of SEEQR: SEEQR systems are expected to be available in 2021. If deployed in large enough numbers, the R0 value for COVID-19 could be driven down significantly as more carriers are identified. It is not a vaccine. It is not herd immunity. It is a testing program so expansive in concept that it could have the same effect—to mitigate and ultimately eliminate the pandemic.”

    For more information, here’s the project link.



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