28 Nov 2011


And it kept on crashing ! Absolutely no idea why - I was just checking out some of the "Radio" software, as I had'nt used JT65 for a little while I wanted to see if it was still functioning and I also wanted to check if the TS590S would still talk to it - it came up with "Floating Point Errors" continually and just disappeared off screen - very strange as the last time I had used it (albeit a while ago now) it had been fine and  appeared stable under W7 - I tried a re-install (twice), no good, so looked for and update and I found reference to an update from  v 1.07 to  v1.08 but there had been a problem with it and had been withdrawn - fortunately I did find the new update v 1.09.3 which must have been very recent,  so I downloaded and installed it - all's well again, so if I want to have a quick play with JT I can, I get very frustrated when things just stop working for no apparent reason, the only thing I can think of is that I had  been playing around with "Logging Programs" recently and may have inadvertantly erased a shared file, but W7 usually tells you  and gives you the choice of whether to keep it or not and I am usually very careful about deleting system files - so v 1.09.33 appears to be ok now.

22 Nov 2011

Back to Basics

It does seem an age since my last post but there have been other things to do and frankly there has not been too much in the way of radioactivity on which to report - the best time for radio  is during late evenings/early morning - 160/80/40 and 30m are the bands most likely to be open and I STILL prefer 40m - I always listen on this band as you get quiet spells and suddenly hear W's and PY's at good strength - mostly workable - The last month or so I have been getting back to basics,  honing my Cw skills on both receive and sending and I am glad to report quite an improvement having apparently been up against the 15-20wpm wall for the last 10 years - it's just me I guess ! No Pain no gain and getting in a rut and the general "Lack" of Cw and too much fiddling with these "Digimodes" so I have been sitting back and opening the mind and letting it flow - of course you have to find some decent sending first! Years ago I did take the chair on a few occasions during FD contests and was beginning to show signs of becoming a reasonable cw op but I let it slip :-(  but persistence is paying off and copying much bigger "chunks" of text at up to 30wpm (thereabouts...)  holding it is another thing but it proves practice works - I will continue in this fashion now and am enjoying Cw again and give all this fangled digi stuff a wide berth for a bit - I have even got my old hand key out and surprisingly find I can send at the same speed, or faster than I was with an electronic keyer - where that came from I know not because I have not used a hand key for years but I will practice just for the novelty.

The return to using Linux was NEVER very far away and I tried about 7 Linux distros last week either Live, or from a USB stick and after much downloading and testing decided once again on Ubuntu - this time it has a completely different interface which at first I did'nt like but since putting it on my Samsung "Netbook" I am growing to like it - I have it dual boot with W7 starter, and defaulted to boot Linux first - the things that previous ubuntu versions had issues with, (Printers, Scanners, Cameras, Tablets, Webcams, and USBdevices etc... ) ALL worked right out of the box WITHOUT the need to install third party or "EXTRA DRIVERS" - Wow ! at least in my case anyway - for a change everything worked - AND  I can print documents wirelessly over the network on both my Pixma4500 deskjet  or  the Samsung Laser - all from the comfort of the sofa !!
For those with the Canon Lide 210 USB Scanner - the current online document on the ubuntu site states it will not work  -  IT DOES.
Lots of fun to be had with this distro...!

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8 Nov 2011

Burying Cables

Today was a must day to start getting the cables buried – the inclement weather did not deter me and having made my purchase of “Large Conduit” from the local store I set to work – my aim was to bury the cables under the exposed runs on  the lawn and pin the rest of the cables to either the house walls, and around the perimeters of the flower /shrub beds tucked under (hopefully") out of sight ?  I measured and cut the required lengths and inserted the cable “with ample space for the PL259’s”  then slotted the pipe/cable into the soil which I had cut to a depth of 4 inches, this turned out to be a bit messy but as it was still raining it did make the job quite easy – the pipe inner diameter was larger than the plug so threaded  with ease and the beauty of it is will be easy to fish a new cable through later – other parts of the garden I’ll be using 4 or 5” soil pipe for long runs of RG213, RG8X, and remote tuner – again it will then be very easy to add or replace the cables by fishing them through – as it stands now I have done the first bit and re-connected the vertical – and I have also encased the feeder wire up to the base of the antenna in case you know who takes a shine to it – I might also have to do the same to the earthing side – I also need to replace the chewed radials but thats fine – I can do that later – as it is I thought the Swr had gone haywire when I tried it but the tuner was set in by-pass, all bands except 20m are fine – certainly workable.



7 Nov 2011

This is WAR

Yesterday I picked up a few bits at a radio rally in London, a new 43 foot pole, some ground stakes, and one of these ready made (out of the box) end fed antennas (my thinking was portable qrp up on the pole 10m set-up) so this morning I did just that  out the back here and worked into Minsk EU1DC ALEX – Tnx fr 579. Hmm Swr not bad 1.2:1 so it IS at least working.

But the trouble started when I went to compare signal strengths on my other recently installed “Sandpiper MV5+3 vertical”  which to be fair had been working quite well up until last friday at least – upon switch over the  silence was ear shattering ! Something amiss here… I quickly tuned across all the other bands and compared signals (or lack of)….  signals were  w a y  down I went straight out to inspect the feeder – it leaves the shack and is tucked in close around the base of the building (in this case) and winds it’s way across a lawn to the back of a shrubbery and there sure enough my worst fears were confirmed as you can clearly see:-


I suppose it’s my own fault for just leaving the cables unprotected in the open – my original plan was to get as many of the feeders into long runs of buried 5” piping which enabled easy access for additional cabling or replacements – plus, I should have taken more heed of an incident a couple of weeks ago when I left a dipole on the lawn that was totalled by the “Foxes” (They’re more like Wolves around here) and somehow I just ignored it ! They even hacked up and gnawed some of the radial wires too:


They even sniffed around the base of the antenna and had a go at the earth wire too connecting the radials etc.… so all in all not too happy with this situation, so it’s WAR from now on and frankly I’d hoped they would have moved on during late July/August but they appear to be hanging around and dont know why – we did have a Fox problem 5 years ago with the constant fouling, ripping up flower beds, eating our strawberries and such – but I managed to block off areas of the garden but this year some of the hedging has died back leaving larger gaps for them to enter  Grrr I’m wishing now I’d taken action earlier and buried those  darned cables in pipe – all is not totally lost, rather than replace the whole run I’ll cut out the “chewed” section and join it – some of the cabling will have to be pinned to the walls now, and try to bury as much out of sight as I can, I just did not think they would go for it !  Wrong.


How do I actually get rid of them ?