Radio Testing!

I went on a mission today to get my HF antenna working with my Uncle’s help!

We started out testing a ‘mini g5vr junior’ off ebay, it was about $50, and… not great.

Its only about 15m at its widest (both elements!)

We couldn’t even get it to tune on any band.

So back to the drawing board, or more the cutting board, we butchered the mini antenna and used its copper wire to repair the G5RV I already had!

With the two elements from the mini one soldered on, I was still about 40cm short of the correct length, so I cut 45cm of solid core ethernet, stripped the ends and twisted them together, and then soldered that in the mix!

with the two elements the correct lengths (or close enough)

we popped down the road to the park and strung the antenna between two trees about 50m apart from each other, using some rope to reach the trees.

The antenna was only 2-3 meters off the ground, so not ideal, but it was great hearing voices coming through the radio again!

It tunes on some bands, but not others.

I think im done messing around, and ill just buy a new G5RV and not let my parents near it (theyre the reason the one I have now is broken, they didnt even keep the half they snapped off :((((( so much copper just thrown away…)

The park is a good candidate, seems low noise there (compared to elsewhere, I still miss my perk in the mountains though!)

There is two trees with nice high branches I am eyeing off, about 10-15 meters off the ground, and ~70m apart.

If I can string it up between there, and set up camp in the middle of the two, with a little picnic table and some food, I think I could have a fun few hours!

Here is some pictures of the final setup, and a youtube video showing some sweet morse and voice coming through

Antenna Testing


Opal system bug update

Looks like with the latest version of the Opal App, you can replicate this yourself!

A ticket checker told me that the bug is fixed in the portable readers but I’m yet to verify this myself.

Here’s a short clip showing how easy it is to replicate.

First scan shows that I’m not tapped on, I then tap on, then again and the tap point shows “already tapped on”

Then I scan again and sure enough tap on failed!

Fiber, Fibre and Networks

Over the weekend I picked up some fiber gear from the lab, took it home and decided to replace the links between rooms with it!

I brought home my trusty old Lindy switch I got years ago from ByteFoundry, some multimode OM3 cable with LC connectors, and I already had some 850nm optical transceivers at home in my tool box. 

I replaced the run of copper from the core in the living room to the Lindy switch in my bedroom, it’s just sitting there for now, I’ll grab a Lack when I’m near Ikea next and mount it to that. 

This solves my problem of having to do my wired network projects in the living room ! I finally have spare ports in my bedroom haha 

The core switch in the living room has 3 spare SFP ports?, which leaves room for a second link to my room that I could trunk if I setup a NAS in there, and a link to my flatmates room, still leaving a spare port for a link to the veranda or garage if I setup a rack there. 

There’s little benefit to this as the links are still 1gbps but the fiber has a smaller profile physically to the copper so it pleases me. 
Plus it’s nice to play with fiber!
I’ll get some of that Velcro people use over cables to replace the duct tape as that’s already peeling 🙁
Here’s some photos of how it is:

I should get around to setting up a Spillpass hotspot already!

ESP8266 Arduino Pro Micro 

I was looking everybody’s favorite online store for Atmega32u4 based MCUs for a friend and stumbled upon this little guy:

It sure as heck isn’t a 32u4 but it is rather interesting !

It looks like it’s an esp8266 module in the form factor of an arduino pro micro, I’m a bit put off by the $20~ price tag but it would be interesting to see if they have routed the pins to the corresponding ones as for the pro micro. 

Then you could use it as a drop in replacement without even having to change the code, except you would suddenly have the option to add wifi to your project! 
IoT is definitely getting much easier these days to implement than when this blog first started! Hahaha
No more fumbling around with an Arduino Uno with Ethernet and then little dodgy radios talking to other Unos with the same radio…..

Oh man that was hell