Shack at 02/05/14

Shack at 02/05/14

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

20:24 local.

Why is it that whenever i get an idea for something to settle on, radio wise, some sod's law always insists on screwing thing up? *grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr*.

Navtex!. Brilliant, i'm finally settling on that aspect of monitoring, along with sstv and broadcast of course. So i have three navtex programs running all successfully on the only computer suitable, and what happens. A tramline sprog appears after about an hour and very slowly progresses across the audio spectrum, which inevitably ends up sitting right across the navtex frequency.

Obviously i'm going to have to be selective here. That is to only fire the navtex up when most likely to recieve any dx, ie late evening. Never had this problem in the old days. Wireless set, pair of headphones and you were laughing. Come the age of the computer and it's one headache after another. Bloody things are a pain in the arse half the time. Too late now though. Now we've got 'em, they are too addictive to give up.

I did fire up navtex at 4:45 this morning, as i had set the alarm to make sure i put the rubbish out for the bin men anyway. Had a letter from the council. Says because of the need to save money, i have to have my rubbish out by 06:00. How stupid is that?. Either i get up at the crack of dawn or put it out the previous evening. Which means, due to being in a quiet country lane on the edge of the forest, the plastic bag (No bin supplied here) is a likely target of wild cats or foxes.

Anyway, as i say the naxtex was fired up in the hope of snagging some dx. This morning i checked the log and the only new addition was Caruna in Spain. Needless to say, not very impressive. Oh well, another day.

Time to dunk some oaties and see what's on the box i think. 73 for now

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Saturday, 18 September 2010





12:55 Local. The strange carrier i picked up early this morning is still with me. Here's a few screen shots. The double peak is Ostend. The single one starts with brief lower tone of about a second, then carries on for anything up to about 20 seconds with the tone shown. Usually about five seconds though. It's not Niton, as i was thinking, as it came up once during a Niton transmission. Wonder if anyone else is monitoring at this time and picking it up?.

Friday, 17 September 2010

18:47 Local. Well the prefix does check out and it's on the map, so i reckon i'll claim that one Hi!




18:03 Local.What am i playing with now?, you may ask. Well i'll tell you. Navtex, that's what. Heard of a program called Frisnit Navtex Decoder V2.1.5, so naturally i had to try it out right?.

Here's a screen shot of it in action

What i found interesting about this program, is not only does it save all the messages to file as indicated on the right of the shot. But it also uploads all messages recieved to an online data base and displays them on a map. This after registering the program and giving my station's name, location of course.

The result can be seen on the next screen shot. The pink icons are the actual navtex stations, but rather than showing which ones my reciever has detected, which i thought would be the case sort of similar to PSK Reporter for instance, the blue icons actually represent the area relevant to the message i have recieved/uploaded instead. Clicking on the icon reveals the actual message. Pretty cool!.

Only managed three different stations so far, and i suppose murphies law says that the conditions are not going to be similar to those of a couple of years ago when i pulled in just about all of area 1 and started on area 2 all in the space of about a month. Still, we'll give it a go.

According to the other computer i've picked up Swaziland on psk31. 3DC. I'll have to check the prefix before i buy that one.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

27:33 local. Well i think i'll have to give that up as a bad job. Just thought i would like to specialise in a particular digital mode re the web page that was a bit more out of the ordinary than psk31, for instance. I can't really see many people that visit being that interested in what psk i'm recieving. 10 metre jt65-hf would have more appeal to those stations seeking confirmation of their sigs getting out at least.

been tuned to 30 metres (10.138/9 for hours now, fruitlessly waiting for some jt65-hf to appear. Not a dicky bird!. I know the recieve/ant is ok as i'm getting stations on 14.076 no problem.

I've just switched back to 20 mtres and already UA3RAG has appeared on screen. I'm not sitting here watching grass grow so 30 metres is out for me. DU1GM has just answered the Russian by the way.

Oh well. lets have another go at ROS. I'll make my mind up in a minute. Shame the notebook/windows 7 doesn't like the SBS1, as i'd be tempted to put that on.

Friday, 10 September 2010

16:31 Local. Thought i'd cracked it then!. My jubilation was short lived however *sigh*.

I've been living with sprogs all the way up the spectrum when listening to the broadcast bands.
As an experiment, just now, i started unplugging whatever i could to see if there was any improvement. Turning monitors off didn't help, nor did removing lap top supplies.

Then i though of taking my IC-R20 handy around the house to see if it was interfered with in the same way. It was, even beyond the front gate and into the lane. Logically, that indicated the problem was not being transfered by hard wiring. Now what am i transmitting, i thought .

I'm not sending any rf out on purpose, so what can it be. I don't use any gadgets to transfer info, excepting the weather center. The interference was there before i got that up and running anyway. Then it hit me. The wifi router. Turn the thing off and see what happens. Immediately the sprogs disappeared. Brilliant, i've cracked it. Now all i have to do is hard wire the only lap top using rf to the router. Or so i thought.

I went into the router menus and found a way to disable the wireless option. Turned it off and saved the setting.... Bugger!, the spogs are still there. The router itself is the problem.

Now what?. I can't get rid of the router. So is it the price to pay for progress, i ask myself. Not like the old days, when radio was a joy to listen to before the advent of all these modern gadgets.

looks like the only way to do some really serious listening, is on a portable radio (avoiding mains born stuff from the neighbours) and when everything else in my own house is turned off (Router and computers in particular).

Thursday, 9 September 2010

22:11 Local. Well i've just recieved a Rumanian station on the notebook so i guess we are ok now. I did turn the output of the radio down a bit so as not to overload it, and it seems to have worked. Anyway, time to call it a day. Might try adding a spare monitor i have handy tomorrow. Another socket to find. All this was supposed to be a temporary setup, and already i'm using 11 plugs *sigh*. G'Night peeps!. 73
21:44 Local. Still toying with the psk reporter page. Everytime i think i like the way it is, some snag rears it's head. Righ at this minute i have jt65-hf running. Look at the default map position and my location is out of the picture. So is the station near Rome. Zooming out only cures it until the next auto refresh from Pskreporter itself. Getting the tool box that contains details like the mode i'm using means chopping off some of the lower map. All this because i'm using a notebook. Screen is not tall enough.

I would prefer ROS mode as one, it's more exclusive than psk31. However, for some unknown reason, even though i can hear the sigs coming from the radio quite strongly, the notebook/ROS prog is not decoding them all of a sudden. Murphies law at it again.

Let's have one more try before bed. I'll set it up and go put the kettle on for a Rosey

Monday, 6 September 2010

17:26 Local, The European weather chart from Meteorologica has not been updated on their page for the last 2 days, which means my own is out of date too. I have removed it from the front page. maybe i'll come up with a replacement in a minute.

As i couldn't get Linux installed on the notebook i though of putting sbs1 on it instead. That's what i have just been attempting. However, no luck there either. Seems to install ok but no data is coming from the box when requested in setting up. Back to the drawing board. Must be some use for the notebook.

The forecasters on tv have been on about severe weather since early this morning, so like a dipstick i went out in a leather jacket expecting it to pour down any minute. Of course i got to town and the sun came out. It's now 17:33 and just started to drizzle. What time zone do these guys live in?.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

09:12 Local. Is it my slow internet speed, or is there a problem with picture side of Blogger. All my pics seem to be missing. Strange!, i'll checkmake a 'thoughts/comments' page on my site. That's an idea!, i'll give that some thought over a 'Starbucks'.
08:41 Local. At last i've got in!. For some unknown reason i keep timing out trying to log into this blog. Sooner or later, surely the internet in general is going to hit saturation point and go into melt down with the increasing use by not only pc's but all these new web capable gadgets that are appearing.

Anyway, after running out of ideas on the weather page yesterday i turned to installing that disc i got with the Linux tutorial book on my new notebook. Unfortunately things didn't work out as they did a while back with the desktop.

I inserted the disc into my external usb drive and selected the option for assisted booting. After an age loading a program, and error appeared. Some file missing. Good start!. I then went into the notebook bios for the boot up priority set up. Selected the usb option and tried the disc again. Light flickered on the drive for a short time, then nothing. Windows started up. Nice one!. Tried booting from another Ubuntu disc, again supplied with a mag. Same again.

On the notebook bios, there is only the option to highlight and save the desired source. Unlike the desktop, where it is placed on top of a priority list. I guess the notebook was doing what it was supposed to do as i had used the only option regarding booting priority. Anyway, giving that up a bad job i tried intalling programs to window with the usb drive to satisfy myself it was working, this went without further problem.

Looks like Linux is going to have to wait until i have a spare machine.

Mybe it's time to get back to the main point to my site, ie shortwave listening. Been a bit sidetracked lately and haven't done much in that line, as the log shows.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

10:55 local I forgot to mention that i foun d a really interesting site that i could have got well into. Sort of weather version of Hamspots. However, after further reading it appears to be aimed at the American enthusiast only *sigh*. Shame that. Another site on a similar vein seems to be Weather Underground, which does cater for a the uk enthusiast, so i will look further into that in a minute.

This weather thing is addictive once you get into it, you know that?.
10:44 local. Hard at it on the computer again. Just been finding links for the weather page.

Just love tinkering with web pages. Yesterday i managed to get the code for falling leaves, and got it operating on the weather links page ok. However, i couldn't manage to get it going on the home weather page supplied by Cumulus. Shame that, as it looks really good against the trees in autumn.

Another thing i couldn't resist was Merlin appearing on my radio home page and having a quick chat before disappearing. I got it to work on the preview, but nothing happened when loaded up to the server. As i'm using Firefox, as opposed to Explorer, it occurred to me that might be the problem. I switched to Explorer on one machine and tried again. Up popped a box requesting me to allow active x. This i did and Merlin appeared. Oh well, i'll just leave it up to those with Explorer to decide whether allow it or not.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

08:07 local. Another day. Put the rubbish out, Fed the cat, myself and finally got the weather centre set up correctly. Thank goodness for forums. How did we cope before the advent of the internet?.

I remember the days when information could only be gleened from books-if you could find any-and by word of mouth. Talk about the stone age *chuckle*. Then again, are we being saturated with so much information that it has an adverse effect? Spoilt for choice?. When i first became interested in radio, there was only the wireless set. Simple choice. No decisions to make, except i either wanted to play with one or not. Now, there are so many 'black boxes' that are capable of so many modes/frequencies of reception, especially in the Ham field, that i now go round in circles trying to figure which one to buy. Or should say did, as i have now covered most avenues over the years, and the latest kit is largely beyond my financial reach anyway.

Has life become too fast and complicated?. I remember travelling up Malaya to stay over for a bit at my then girl friends place in the jungle. House on stilts, bamboo walls, no tv or traffic noise. Chickens running about all over the road outside. No one rushing about. So laid back and peacefull. Brilliant!. I really didn't want to came back from it all, but at the time the government basically owned me. Back to the rat race, i'm sorry to say. Oh well, back to present.

Couldn't hear that French station experimenting on 136 megs last evening. Too much noise down there, and my antenna is probably not up to it anyway.

Looks like a warm day again, time for a 'Starbucks', check out the mags in Smiths and try to avoid buying the latest toy in Maplin.