Shack at 02/05/14

Shack at 02/05/14

Sunday, 19 June 2011

G'Day. Well looks like the rain has stopped, well temporarily at least Hi!. Just pumped up my very slow leaking tyre again *sigh*. Pain in the gregory!. Got loads of tread yet so just putting up with it for now.

Is it the end of hf as we know it, I ask myself. I, apparently like an inreasing number of other hams swl'ers it seems according to the internet, am finding it more and more uncomfortable to play hf radio. I suppose interference in one form or another has slowly crept up on us radio types over the recent years without actually registering that much, and we haven't really taken too much notice.

However, with the advent of more and more cheapo electronic gadgets around the house being used, such as data transfer through the mains for instance, noise is getting to be a major problem. Plasma tv's are another pain, as are cb'ers who quite openly flout the regulations and use excessive power. Ten metres is unusable to me when such a person is airborne near me, and I've heard his harmonics way up to the marine band.

Logically things can only get worse as I say as more and more cheapo gadgets arrive from the far East and appear in the 'promotion' display of the local electronics outlet in town. I remember once apon a time just being upset that I had to give up dx tv because of the upsurge of baby monitors being used on 49 mhz. Now, it seems, things are really going pear shaped. I really am thinking seriously now, that maybe it is time to knock this hobby on the head.

I've had a good innings, being as I my interest started in 1957. Bit like giving up smoking though. Hard to break the habbit. But at the end of the day, as Dell would say, 'You know it makes sense'.

That's enough soap box for now, have to go out. 73, back later.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

10:21 local. Well spotted that man!. Whilst listening to Spanish chatter on 27.555 just now, it suddenly occured to me also that I was basically a dipstick. There is no need to use the 'MFJ' box as the 897 D version, which I have, has a perfectly good DSP filtering on board of course. Doh!
G'Day. Been wrestling with XAT box again as I fancied joining another community and embed their box on my site. Unfortunately I appear to have aquired two login callsigns whilst messing about with my own box, try as i might i can't get rid of one. In fact I now have a third, dammit!. I'll have to knock XAT on the head and stick to Chatango before I pull out any more of what's left of my hair Hi!.

And now for something completely different!, and the Pythons would say. Got an ft-897 doing nothing, so thinks!, what can I do with it?. Also have a top band mobile antenna in the shed. Maybe whip that up on the metal roof on a try mag mount and try some cw in the evenings. Did have a go a while back but found the band a bit noisey. However, something to play with over the weekend and maybe the mfj dsp filter can clean things up a bit.

Then again I could just fall asleep on my lounger in what I laughingly call my summer house *chuckle*. Decisions decisions!. Life's a bitch sometimes, right?.

Monday, 13 June 2011

22:27 Oh well back to the drawing board. Thought I had a nice chat box embeded on the site, but it wouldn't synchronise somehow with the online version ie the host site. Looks like it's back to the original 'Chatango', if I can find it now I've deleted it. If not I'll start all over.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Well I did get the lead and software for the 5555 after all. What a game it was, or still is because i'm not finished yet programming it. Not used to TAR files and this is how the usb to serial driver was wrapped up on the disc. I got there in the end, more by luck than judgement and finally got the radio to talk to the computer. When I got the software to work I found I had the missing com port (3) available, whereas before com ports 1 and 2 wouldn't communicate *sigh*.

Have just entered portions of the band relevant to me, ie cw, ssb, fm simplex and the repeaters with shifts. I've tried cw at 5 khz steps and the rest at 10, leaving fine tuning to the 'clarifier' knob, which goes down to 10 hz anyway. Couldn't get all the ssb portion in the 60 channels available on one bank this way, so might spread the load over two banks. I'll leave it for now, i'm cream crackered. Play with it tomorrow.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Well I'm not sure now whether it's now worth bothering with the programming software and lead that I had planned to get tomorrow *sigh*. I've just tried tuning around on the 10 fm, ssb and cw segments, but all I get is the 27 mhz guy down the road splattering all over me. Any signals that I might normally pick up would be completely zapped whilst he was on air I'm afraid. Means 10 metres for me looks to be a waste of time, at least at this location. Maybe I'll get the kit whilst it's going in case I move house some time. I'll see if I feel bored enough in the morning to make the trip.

Site is growing by the minute it seems. Found a nice moving ISS tracking map for it today. Waiting for Andrew to bring out his next update to his Virtual Radar Server, which may enable me to embed it on my site. Then I can show my SBS-1 live.
Been messing about with a Google group I thought of starting, it's was to be related to the air/sbs1 scene around the south uk coast. Got it all set up, then decided it was probably not destined to be a success anyway due to my finding a similar group started in 2008. In the three years that followed the only postings to the group were from the owner himself. And all of those were of his sbs logs.

I scrapped that idea and sought to find more content for my site instead. The Airport News page I found was a very worthy addition, so having just discovered the art of iframing I decided to inlude this site as is instead of just linking to it. Hope that doesn't infinge any copyrite. I have stated what I have done, so no-one is left in any doubt as to the site not being my own.

I see my local emporium is now has the lead and software for my 10 metre rig, so I'll pop in and collect same tomorrow. Something new to play with. The rig is not really set up as I would want, step wise. Also there is no provision for repeater shift as standard, so that can be redressed also.

Bit too cloudy today for spotting, so have to play radio or site building when I return from town I guess.

4 months and 984 visits later and not one single peeps has signed the guest book?. Interesting!.
Thinks!.........Now how many have I actually signed?. Oh dear!, better keep quiet about that one *chuckle*

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

23:20 Nice one! Tried the bino's on a Virgin 747 (G-VXG) out of Gatwick for Orlando. Passed overhead at 19.800ft. Bit too shakey at 60x but quite acceptable at 35x. Probably stick to that power, which is 15 over my other bino's (20x80) anyway. The new ones don't need a fork lift to hold 'em up either *smile*.

Caught a cold with the flight sim (X-Plane9) i found in a second hand shop today. Discs (six dvd's) are in perfect knick, but couldn't figure at first why disc one wouldn't install when i returned home. Then it hit me....eventually. It's a Mac version damn it!. Reckon the guy in the shop must have had previous interest shown as i noticed the game in the window some days ago and toyed with getting it. In otherwords i figure he probably knew it was not suitable for windows from previous enquiries but neglected to mention the fact to me *sigh*.

I didn't know there were any flight sims dedicated to the Mac, but there you go. Live and learn eh?. Oh well, as it's a pain to get hold of anyway as i refuse to buy anything over the internet, i'll store it until such times as i treat myself to a nice shiny new Mac computer. That could be a very long time though *sigh*.

Monday, 30 May 2011

19:00 and still overcast. Looks like that's it spotting wise, for today anyway.

Made a start on experimental upload of sbs1 logs on the air page. Decided on text format as opposed to pdf which i had previously used. Saves converting before saving the text files before uploading, so not so much involved. Figured not everyone has a pdf reader installed anyway, so probably better this way.
G'Day!. Well i did it. Tried out the binos in the shop and found i could see relatively comfortably at 60x, so decided to go for it. Used my usual local landmark at home for focussing the left anfd right eyepieces individually, seeing as my eyes are not evenly matched *sigh*. Murphies law says it's overcast, so can't have to wait for my first sighting.

Had a reply from Andrew, the writer of the Virtual Radar Server prog, who has put me right about the delay re showing my sbs detected aircraft on his map. My fault entirely. I didn't realise that the initial SBS1 software had a 5 minute delay at the transmit feed port 30003. This has now been adjusted to 'no delay' in other words live, but entailed upgrading the software to achieve this.

I have now upgraded and all is now well. I am now using Andrew's software in place of the default sbs screen, which i find much more attractive and includes all the information that i could posibly want in front of me.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Had been concidering auto uploading the sbs1 at 30 second intervals again. However, as there are perfectly good on line virtual radar sites available now and uploading my own screen shots would take over this main computer, i decided to give it a miss. Could of course upload my logs to a relevant site, such as 'South East Overflights' or maybe just my own. I'll give it some more thought.

Meanwhile i'm in two minds whether to go for a pair of 12-60x70 bino's i've seen. I have some 20x80's, but they weigh a ton. Also 20-60x60 spotting scope, but this is a pain to use on high power. Maybe the bino equivalent, with it's larger object lens and wider field of view would be acceptable, depite the inevitable shaky image at 60x. I really fancy something a bit more powerfull than the 20x80's as my overhead trade has already reached 18.000 ft out of Gatwick. I'll have a little play in the shop before making up my mind i think.

Example screen shot of my sbs1, which as you see is zoomed to my area.

Example of report of previous loggings of G-FDZS

Screen shot of Virtual Radar Server. Thompson reg G-FDZS into Bournemouth from Cyprus, just before i lost it from radar. (Height on top right of display)
Found a very nice progam couple of days ago. Runs in parallel with sbs1 and displays the detected aircraft on a google map. Mousing over will give the usual details of the aircraft with the added bonus of the route, if known. The prog also allows lookups of flights of any particular registration in the sbs1's data base.

Unfortunately there is a delay of about 4 minutes before the map to displays the aircraft detected by sbs1, so a bit difficult to use the program for a heads up re leaping outside clutching the old bino's. However, this is taken care of by switching to live sbs1 so no big deal i guess. A nice touch is that after selecting a craft, the map will automatically scroll to keep it centered.

Another, is a continuous updated readout of locations the aircraft is passing over, allbeit 4 minutes ago as it were. A voice announcement can be chosen to give details of selected aircraft too. Super litle prog, which no doubt Andrew, the writer, will make even more versatile in future updates. (Link is on my site's air page. And here Virtual Radar Server )

Friday, 13 May 2011

Just shows the power of weak signal modes. Japan no problem here. No high end recieving kit either, just the Satellit 750 and an 8 metre Pro-whip antenna.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Once again i couldn't resist having a go at Linux.

Found that i could load Ubuntu 9.1 alongside windows xp and and select which system i wanted to use on start up, so although i knew 9.1 was well out of date i decided to load it and update when installed.

All went well and i had the choice of both systems on start up. I then went for the next Ubuntu upgrade. I though it would skip the next two obsolete issues and go for the 11.01, which is the latest. Not so, so i had to hang about for about 4 hours on each upgrade whilst it was first downloaded, then installed. 150 kilobytes a second is the fastest download speed i can make, invariably it would dip lower as more people came on line in my area.

All went well until the latest distro was finally installed. I did get the program running more with luck than judgement i think as the monitor, on boot up, would display the floating 'Imput not supported' box. Bugger!. Now i couldn't see the choices for booting the system, of which there was about 6 if i remember right from when it was working ok. 5 relating to Linux and xp being the last choice to scroll down to.

I tried a long shot and hit the down arow 6 times, then enter. Success!, up comes xp every time. Oh well i'll have to stick to that method unles i scrub Ubuntu altogether. Trouble is i don't know how to delete it now it's along side xp on the same disc. Only thing i can think of is wipe the whole disc and re-install windows. As i can actually fire up xp i'm loath to lose everything i have running at the moment.

From my brief play with Ubunto 11 i can say it looks very nice compared with the previous versions. Has a sort of 'Apple' look about now. I tried feeding the radio to the sound card using fldigi, but couldn't hear anything. I'm using a usb external sound card, which has to be set in a certain way with it's own software on xp. As the software is not Linux compatible i was stitched. That's Linux put back on the subs bench for the forseable future.
G'Day!. Quite chuffed this morning, well at the moment anyway, as i have just recieved my first VK on HF65-HF, as you can see from the screen shot.

Amazing really, that just when i get the mood to chuck it all in something seems to happen to make it worth while sticking with radio after all.

First thing this morning i fired up the shack, pointed the Satellit 750 at the computer and tuned to 14.070. last night the 'Super Browser' was covered in psk traces with next to no interference. This morning all i got was multiple tram lines of interference covering the waterfall *sigh*. Someone has switched something on, chucking rubbish into either the airways, down the mains or through the telephone lines?. Again i ask myself why do i bother with radio?. And let's face it, it's only going to get worse, all these new fangled gadgets spewing rubbish into my kit.

All very well meant, trying to get Ofcom to ban such offending gadgets that transfer data across the mains etc. But even if they were eventially galvanised into action, which is unlikely, are they going to knock on thousands of doors of offending owners who have already aquired such kit to confiscate them?. Of course not, that's silly. How many CB types have i heard openly discussing their equipment, which includes at least 40 watt amps used as standard?. Obviously they do not feel in the least threatened by any action, so what are the chances of all the thousands of over the mains gadget owners getting there collar felt?. No chance!. We Radio Hams are, to coin a phraze from 'Dad's Army', "All doomed Mr Mainwaring". If i had the room i would seriously consider switching to my other hobby of model railways, but i don't so i struggle on making the best of the radio.

Oh well, that's my little moan out of the way. Time to fire up the Atoz. Just passed the MOT by the way with only 4 bulbs and a wire resolderd to the break light. Amazingly this came to 112 quid. Stone me!, what would be the damage if something worse needed doing?. Still, it's good for another year. 11 years old now and still has the original exaust and spark plugs.

73 for now

Thursday, 5 May 2011

That's the date problem fixed. Found a prog called TClockEx. Fits on bottom tool bar, far right. Now you can see when the JT65-HF screen shot was uploaded.
Haven't blogged for a while as been back and forth visiting mum in a Kent hospital etc, and not particularly in the mood for writing. Unfortunately this was a terminal illness and she has since passed away. The funeral arrangements have now been finalised so am now at a loose end until then.

Might as well get up to date here, so have just elbowed the FAX page, which was not very productive, and replaced it with a JT65-HF page. Seems when all else fails i can still recieve this mode, so eyes down for some weak signal reception. Still have to figure out how to include the current date on screen though.

The Anytone AT-5555 10 metre rig works well on fm even on the mag mount quarter wave. Satisfied with that until i can get the programming lead for it. I'll give cw and ssb a go after some tweaks to the tuning steps.

Have a Wauxun handy (4 Metre rig) and have taped a wire half wave dipole to the side of a telescopic fishing pole for it. Local qso's are ok with the five watts, but my audio is reported on the quiet side. Also there seems to be a brief tone transmitted at the end of my overs. All tones are turned off to no avail. A factory reset did not cure the problem either *sigh*. have to see if any other Wauxun users are experiencing same problem.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Now that's better!. had a re think about the 4 metre handy yesterday. Considered a j pole ant that i'd seen in the emporium, but after doing a wiki on same decided there was too much metal work around the fixing point here, apparently the j pole would not be over impressed with that.

Decided on plan B. Home brew dipole. Found an old telescopic fishing pole in the shed to support the wire elements. Taped some wire either side of a chocky block and proceeded to to trim until the swr and impedence became respectable. Started at exactly a metre on each element, but must have ended up taking a couple of inches from that. Unfortunately i forgot to note the resulting length before i taped a the whole thing up propper and erected the pole.

The feeder, indidentally, had to approach the feed point at an angle rather than neatly up the pole to achieve 50 ohms.

Back in the shack i eventually heard a station calling cq loud and clear on 70.45, where on the previous quarter wave, was way down in the noise. Good start. Returned his call and imediately he came back and gave me a 5&7. Nice one!. The ant was a success. My audio was a bit quiet apparently, as has been confirmed by other station since. There doesn't seem to be any mic gain facility etc in the menus, so have to live with it i guess. Still, we are up and running on 4.

Tuned in the the regular net run by a station near Wareham (20:30 Wednesday 70 .475 mhz), which is a fare lick from me. Worse, there is the New Forest between us. I did read a lot of the Wareham stations overs however, but could not make out his complete call sign. What with not hearing the other stations on net either i didn't think it worth attempting to make contact.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Mmmmm, i'm not impressed. Heard a station calling cq on 4 metres today on my scanner+discone.
Signal loud and clear, no problem. Turned on the Wouxun handy and the signal was very scratchy. Tried to answer him and got no answer using the metal roof mounted quarter wave magmount or using the handy outside with the centre loaded whip on board.

G0AYZ is located in Gosport which is about 12 miles directly across the water from my location, so i did expect my 5 watts to at least attract his attention. Apparently not, so not very chuffed at the moment. I'm sure 2 metres would have been a doddle with 5 watts but maybe 4 metres is a whole new ball game propogation wise, i don't know.
Operational on 10 fm now using an AnyTone AT-5555 12 watts into a temporary quarter wave whip on tri magmount on metal shack roof. had 1 qso to date (I.O.W). Heard one more station but cb'er opposite running 40 watts desensing my radio so not worth answering at that time.

Also running 4 metres with a Wouxun KG-6993 handy. Also to a quarter wave on roof (Cut to exactly to 1 metre). No joy as yet on that one.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Just popped in to say the blog and any serious work on the web page has been put on temporary hold due to family commitments. 73 for now, Brian

Friday, 4 February 2011

Just made a start on my new Weather Fax page. Linked at the moment from the Digital Page.

That's it, i've had enough for today. G'Night all 73.
Propogation not good for 20 or 80 sstv today, though i did bet a couple of images on each worth uploading.

Need a decent screen shot of wefax to put on new page which i'm devoting to the mode, but murphies law says i'm not going to get one today.

Been playing with my pocket cam corder with the view of trying some you tube uploads. Have signed up and loaded a test video to make sure all is working my end. That went ok so now have to make something serious, probably radio orientated to, upload.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

G'Day!. Waiting for some20 metre sstv to come in to make sure i've got the widget back to normal after messing about on 80 last night. A watched kettle never boils as they say.

This evening i'll try some 80 analogue after making a tactical withdrawal from digital Hi!.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Murphies law again. All logic says i should be able to upload digital images with ftp in EasyPal, but will they go up?. Nope!. Trouble is, it's probably all accademic anyway as i still haven't decoded anything to upload for the last two evenings anyway. Is it worth the brain damage i ask myself. Well the answer is no, so i've decided to go for an 80 metre analogue page instead. Basically to give the notebook something to do once i've finished with 20 metres for the day.

The upload is working, so let's hope i can find some sstv action tomorrow evening. For now it's time to rest my weary brain before i end up in a head shed *chuckle*.

Wefax has been rubbish today so the low frequencies couldn't have been up to much anyway.

That's it, G'Night all zzzzzzzzzzz

Monday, 31 January 2011

Bit of work on the web page today, but not a lot.

Decided, as 20 metres sstv dies after dark that i would try making use of the notebook by switching to 80 for a bit of digital. Had EasyPal working all evening but haven't managed to decode a pic yet.

Too many segments missing so far. Still it's probably murphies law, that the minute try it the conditions are going to be iffy. I'll keep at it as the notebook is doing nothing after 20 metres closes down anyway.

Night all, 73
G'Day!. Decided to have a day in today. Not doing much listening at the the moment though. Sat in paul's cab a lot so far as he drives through London. First thing i put on the 'puter when i get up.

Other than that i am, as usual, following the events in Egypt on tv. Seems the police have been ordered back to the treets, which as the people have aready found that they can overcome them, looks like a bad move by Mubarak to me. I'm guessing the army generals are refusing to fire on their own people, so it's a last ditch effort on Mabarak's part to overcome the people.

Playing with a shack cam last evening, but not convinced it's a good idea. Can't seem to find a way of integrating with a working page to make it interesting as opposed to putting it on it's own auto refreshing page, which i can't really people sitting on, basically watching paint dry Hi!.

Also concidering my own talk box on front page (Catango group) on the lines of 'Shortwave Listening Chat'.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

G'Day!. Couldn't sleep after 6 this morning so got up and added a few links to the air page. Toying with the idea of putting pdf's of my sbs1 logs on there. Can run sbs1 in the background so logs are still viable. Need another 'puter really.

Notebook is being silly ever since enabling an upgrade from 'Avast' anti virus to their prog. A restart wont complete anymore. Last couple of days i've had to start in safe mode, then restore to before the upgrade. Odd that as i thought just one restore would have deleted the upgrade. Always some little niggle with computers, right!. Oh well at he end of the day i can always do a complete restore. Only want a couple of progs on it anyway. That's a plus for 'Novatech' Portmouth. They always give a restore disc, something you dont get at the 'box shifter' stores.

Short of bread (Eating variety) so firing up the Atoz soon as the shops are open. Watching the events in Egypt on tv at the moment. I wonder if the army would, if ordered to do so, actually shoot their own people?. Can't really see it myself as i would think the generals would then turn against President Mubarak if he gave such an order. The whole problem, i guess, is the fact that his son is in the frame for taking over. Democracy???.

Friday, 28 January 2011

That's the chart for today. Wish the high pressure would push off, that Easterly wind is freezing *sigh*.

Dug out the reconditioned, or so the dealer said, lap top. Had to use an external drive to load anything from disc as the onboard one as decidedly antisocial as usual. Managed to get Ui-view aprs running on it. Couldn't configure it at first, ie baud rate, stop bits, handshaking and all that palarver. However, i then thought of loading up 'Winpack' packet software to try that. Got it to run auto baud routine with Shift * then closed and tried Ui-View gain. Turned TNC off then on again and Merlin sprang to life announcing stations. I didn't even tounch the Ui-view set-up options again. probably a coincidence that i left it on compatible setting before, but i'm not about to invetigate further. If it aint broke don't fix it, as the saying goes.

So now i've now got aprs in the shack. Well recieve anyway. Might get tx facility when my wallet recovers from anorexia. Got aprs on my site of course, but that's running on the bedroom computer.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Northwood coming in quite well this morning.

Might sort out a page devoted to wefax/navtex later today. Needs to figure out some html code if i put it on X5 Editor. The way X5 is set up it doesn't allow for inserting a sourced image as opposed to inserting a real one so to speak, as Namo Editor does. Complicated, have to explain later as going out now. 73 for now

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Northwood is coming in nicely at 16:45.

Been watching Paul's (g0hwc) truck cam for a while (Link on Analogue SSTV page). Fascinating!. He's got a chat box on his screen as well. Just been reading other posts though. Haven't joined in myself. Toying with the idea of a chat box on my site, but not sure i'm at the desk top long enough to make it viable.

Might take a trip to Winchester tomorrow to get some pics for the page. Arthur's round table would be a nice shot. Had it a while back but can't find it. Anyway, make a change from Southampton. Salisbury is lined up too, with the cathedral being priority there. Burley and Glastonbury are in the frame as well for a pagan angle.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Got some pretty good quality wefax pics with Radiocom 6 today. Reception here from Northwood is decidedly iffy most of the time, but occasionally conditions are good enough to get pics like this.

Tried sstv on with same software today, even using the same antenna as the 897 ie the 8 metre whip, but i couldn't even get it to recognise a start signal. Shame!. Of course it could be down to the ageing PCR-1000, but i wouldn't know unlessl i got some else for the R6 to drive. An unlikely prospect, as if i did get another computer driven radio it would be an sdr using the usb port instead of the serial port. Something that is disappearing fast. Lap tops do not have one, and not all desk tops either. Maybe i'll see a second hand PCR-1500 going cheap. Who knows!.

The prog recieves wefax and navtex better on the garex active ant, i do know that however. Guess i'll leavethe R6 concentrating on those modes.

Some good quality sstv images recieved today, as shown on the last 12 received page. The 897 and whip combo works very well.

Monday, 24 January 2011

As you see i've managed to get Radiocom 6 going again. Problem was that the software was not mad about the onboard sound card of my new mother board. The 'line in' insisted on being greyed out and unusable however i tried to configure. Wouldn't work with 'mic in' either. Dug out an old external usb card and we are in business. Here you se Niton Radio (Navtex). Meant to screen shot different layouts of RC6, but Niton was very brief this time.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Well i couldn't resist it. What with a TH-D7 mk2 just out on the market, i had to go dig out an old mk1 from the junk box i bought a long way back. If i remember rightly i had probs with it back then tnc wise. However, once it was in my mind i had to try it.

Basically, all i wanted to do was tx my position so that the nearest repeater would put me about until i appeared on the map which i have on my home page.

I found the power supply and manual and even found the pc lead. This surprised me as all were in seperate boxes. Wish i would keep things together *sigh*.

Anyway i got it all configured and connected it to my hb9cv and fired it up, and up, and up. It tx'd ok, but no sign of me on the map. I eventually gave up on that and put it away. Only to get it out again so as to try running my old Ui-View prog. Once again i laid my hands on an old disc that contained not only the prog, but all the files to get Merlin speaking out stations and some maps of my area i used in the past.

Anyway, got it all loaded up and running. Well Ui-View was ok but trying to get it to talk to the rig!. I tried every configuration that i could but it just wouldn't fire up when told to. If both were talking to each other, going into options and reloading the serial port config box should trigger the first beacon message. Unfortunately, although Merlin placed an icon on the map and announced my call sign, this was local to my computer. In other words the rig was not listening to Ui-View and didn't tx.

Had to admit defeat in the end, so there was another couple of hours wasted. If i had made it to Portsdown hill it would have given me incentive to eventually go for the Mk2. Would have been nice to go pedestrian mobile as the reviewer seems to have done in PW. But looking at the screen shot he provided, there is a fixed station only a few streets from his loacation so it's no wonder he was fed to the internet. Would 5 watts on a rubber duck get me from Southampton city for instance, to Portsdown hill i wonder. Being as how tight money is, is it better to play safe and to stick with my original idea of an SDR radio?.

Oh well, back to bc listening. Have to get something in the log.

22:50 and cream crackered. That's it. Night all 73

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Well at least i have pics going up again, even if it's a long winded aof going about it.

I have to use a notebook, and unfortunately there are snags with all three sstv decoders i use. HRD is too big for the screen. In other words the icons for rx and ftp enable are below the screen so can't use them. MMSSTV keps freezing on recieving a pic, which puts up an error mesage that the image is 'read only?'. And RX-SSTV, which auto saves to history but the wigdet can't find any images there. I am assuming they are saved in bmp format. There is no RX-SSTV program option to choose between jpg or bmp, so the only way i can see around it is to use the 'save to' option as the pics arive. So using this method, and pointing the widget to the file that i am saving them to, the pics are finally uploaded to the page.

I'm had to use Namo editor to make the page, which is on my alternative host. X5 allows adding linking to ready made images as it were, but not to just name one that is not actually there yet ie SSTVImage1.jpg

That's it fo now, my brain hurts Hi!.

Friday, 21 January 2011

That's it, i've move it all over to Amazing how many links have to be altered. One to the old site, another back from it. Link to the new guest book. Link to the weather page, and another back from that. Then change the link on qrz and another on the x5 forum. What a work up. Still, all done, and added few tweeks to the front page while i was at it. Time for a rest. Cup of Rosey and a look at BBC news on the box i think.

Fun and games again

Last night i tried to upload latest changes of the site, but 'couldn't connect to server'. Nice one, now what!. I'm already connected to my(Virgin) server, so can't be that. Tried various things recommended, like unticking passive mode. Re-entering all ftp data, Turning the firewall off, turning the anti virus off etc etc, but still no joy. Sounds like the host for the site is not accepting the update to me. Maybe maintenance going on or something. Left it for the night.

Today i still can't get the prog to upload to host, so tried something else to prove a point. Changed the ftp settings to my other host ie and it went up no problem. Obviously something to do with the original host, or the programs inner workings that talk to that server.

I'll give it a bit longer in case it is a maintenance issue, then move over to i guess. Of course if i do that i'll have to change some links. The guest book will have to go again as that is tied to the original url. Bloody nuisance all round. Never had any problems with Namo, my other editor. Been using that for years. Can install it on any computer too.

Could just crap x5 and stick to my old site of course using Namo, but i've grown to like the site made with x5

Oh well, lunch time.

Thursday, 20 January 2011


Haven't really been in the mood for web page work today. Playing with old radio kit instead.

Used to use a program called DStar comms a few of years back. Was donation ware at the time, but soon after a small fee was charged for it. It's basically a prog for sending/recieving messages/mail etc betwen DStar users. Had a beacon facility too. I never did make contact with any station, so eventually gave up.

Now i see that Matt M0DQW has made the latest (Pro version) freeware again, so i can only assume that DStar has not proved popular enough to justify running a commercial site.

Do i set up the software with my 2820 again in the hope it will eventually take off, i ask myself.
Maybe wacking out a beacon every five minutes will catch someones attention. Might try it anyway just to see if the notebook/serial converter can handle it. When the mood takes me, i think.

As to getting the Ui-view working, it does seem a waste of time recieving aprs with a tnc and radio, when a live map is available on the web. I just fancied playing with the old kit again that's all. Bit like the sbs1, as there are various online live mode-s pages now. The internet is handy, but sometimes i think it's taken all the fun out of some hobbies.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Another biz day.

Dug the PK-232MBX TNC (Terminal Node Controller for non hams) out of the junk box to see if i could get aprs (Ui-view) going on my notebook. Naturally the notebook doesn't have the required serial port, so i also found a usb to serial converter in the junk box too.

Wired it all up, feeding audio to the tnc from a scanner tuned to 144.800. Loaded Winpack first so as to get the tnc configured for packet. Switched on and typed * to set the auto baud routine. All went well as i got instant packets on screen. The com port would only work set to 3 on Winpack for some reason, but at least it was working.

Next i loaded Ui-View which, as with Winpack from my archive software discs, entailed plugging in an external drive of course as the notebook doesn't have one. Tried to set up a com port in Ui-view, but couldn't find one to work. Using 3 as before just came up with an error message that, when cleared, shut the prog down. Oh dear!.

Left Winpack running and got back to the web page building instead.

Finally got a guest book i like embeded on a page, so ok there. Added a few more links on the link page (Very time consuming) and did some more to the 'digital' page.

Front page now has live aprs map running after after tweeking the code to center on my qth. This is set to auto track aprs equipped vehicles. I had the option of also tweeking the code to include shipping, but it tends to clutter the page up when defaulted to my area (Solent).

I used to have tx aprs facility a while back, but had to flog the kit when i was particularly skint. I see there is a new KW handy out now with built in tnc/gps which can be used as a i-gate as well. Nice one!. Have to get one of those one day. 400 quid is a bit heavy at the moment though.

Incidentally, i also tried the old PK-12 tnc but no joy on the notebook.

Still giving occasional shouts out on 144.6125 (Digital voice), but no takers.

Oh well, that's another day gone. 73 all G'night

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Gordon Bennett, those bloody stupid codes you have to sign with. I've just tried about 8 times before i got one to work. Damn letters are all over each other. How you supposed to read them. What a stupid idea!. Grrrrrr.

Well now that's of my chest. Been trying to fix up a guest book for hours. Ended up with Bravenet, though not mad about it. Tried first to embed it on a page, but even though i got it looking right before an entry to it. It got too long for the page when in write mode. I extended the page, but then when a message had been sent the page was too small again. An advert had appeared which screwed up the sizing again. Using the scroll option didn't work either because the cell would't expend enough to suit the basic book page. Complicated to explain, but a no no to embed.

Have now linked to the server instead, but it doesn't look very inviting. I think i'll look for something else tomorrow. I've had enough for today. Still no radio listening time. Oh well, can't do everything. G'night!.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Web Page

What a long job, it's going to keep me busy for years at this rate. Just adding all the links take ages, and i've only scatched the surface. Beats me how people complain that they are bored when they retire. I never have enough hours etc.

Took a break earlier, as i thought i'd better put up the hb9cv antenna, seeing as i've aleady mentioned it being in situ on the site. Have to give a shout occasionally on 144.6125 Digital Voice. Just maybe someone out there is monitoring the frequency in the hope that someone else in Hampshire has also gambled 600 quid. Basically, i though i was being future proof when i bought it. Looks like i caught a cold so far. Oh well, keep taking the tablets, as they say. Maybe someone will put a repeater on Portsdown hill or something. Can't reach the Wimborne one.

Still no radio or sbs monitoring, just glued to the old 'puter lately.

Time for a Rosey i think, spiting feathers in front of this thing. 73 for no

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Another day on the 'puter

Eyes down, here we go again.

Actually the site is not looking too bad at the moment, though not being able to change the page colour is winding me up a bit. The stock white just doesn't go. However, there is always the option of building from scratch as opposed to using a template. trouble is, i'm quite fond of the ladybirds walking about my header now.

With the scratchbuilt job, i'll have to sort out a decent logo or find a suitable flash intro. Not easy to find anything with a Ham/Radio theme though. Maybe there's hope yet for altering the stock theme colour. Airing the subject on the forum might illicit a way around the problem.

I'm running sbs1 in the background on this computer, so i'll at least have some logs to upload. However, i cant upload live screen shots obviously as the sbs1 program is naturally minimised.

Shortwave listening has gone by the board also, so no logs there. Could use another couple of computers. I do have another three lap tops, but they are pretty useless for todays applications

An old windows 98 job, bought at a radio rally. Too slow for modern progs. A recon pentium3, also too slow and the original Apple i-book, which i also bought at a rally. Cought a cold there, becausei it was in the days when i was decidedly computer challenged. I'd never had an Apple before and my eyes were bigger than my brain. This was going brand new. Couldn't resist it of course, but didn't realise that it was already obsolete. It is the pre intel chip job, which means i cant install Windows, use a windows emulator on it, or change to Linux either. All it's good for is surfing the net. Even that is a slow process, so it's in the junk box.

Oh well, snack time i think. 73 for now

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Stone me!, where does the time go when i'm messing with this computer.

Well the new site is off the ground, but i think i'll keep the old one going. Maybe that one just for all thing aircraft and the new for radio. The image directory and slide show facilities on X5 are a shame to waste, so maybe i'll rekindle my interest in my old hobby of photography and make use of them.

Gave up serious photography when plastic film went out of fashion. Used to spent hours in a tempory darkroom in the bathroom knocking out black and white prints. Loads of fun for me, but a crossed legged time for the xyl *chuckle*.

Maybe nature shots around Hampshire, for instance, would suite the theme i'm curently using. I'll give it serious thought anyway. 8 meg compact is always in my pocket when i go out, so may be an excuse to make use of it.