July 2023 Entries

Monday, 31st July, 2023

Last day of our holidays and so the journey home. Back to work tomorrow. Not really excited about that…

Interestingly, I didn’t make some grand plan for the rest of the year which I often do during the holiday. Although maybe as I spent all my time looking at used radio gear 😅

I’m tempted to buy the Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM for my M2. Even though I’ve not used it all year, I know that I’ll swing back into it at some stage and then be glad of the 50. They haven’t changed in price much over the last two years so that’s something at least, however, not many show up. There’s a nice one for sale for £250. It feels like an investment for the future, not a financial one but an item one. As time goes on there’ll be fewer and fewer of them.

This also reminds me that I was thinking about getting my Leica serviced. I probably should’ve done it in January. It’s just another £200+ on something that isn’t really essential right now.

I should do something about my photos website…again…the static site is still my favourite but I’ve not updated it in ages and now it feels like a huge chore. Of course I could just ignore those I’ve missed and go forwards. The thing that concerns me is that it’s python 2 and I worry running the packages will get harder if things change and they stop working. I suppose I could package them into a single binary with pytoexe or similar such software. In fact, that might be the best thing to do on my computer where it still works.

I’d still like to find something else though, although I’ve never found anything I’ve liked. Although new things pop up all the time. Given we have fibre internet, I should host it at home now.

There’s still the same problem of where do I process the photos. Lightroom CC is fine but I don’t like being tied to the subscription for it. My old Lightroom classic is still an option I suppose. I still miss the easiness of Photos.app on a mac. I suspect I’ll buy a mac (again) before long.

With planning the garage workbench, comes the technology side of it too. It’ll need a computer if I’m going to use the radio there and if I get a 3D printer. I do have a laptop that I currently use with the radio in the kitchen so that could go there. I even have a usb-c dock for it if I wanted a monitor. It’s clearly another opportunity/excuse for me to get more computer things. Even considering a TV on the wall for something. A small one mind. I’ve even debated a mac for there but seems odd to have it in the garage.

Saturday, 29th July, 2023

Up to 10 letters now in CW (morse). I didn’t do it yesterday so did a bit longer this morning.

Friday, 28th July, 2023

I do not like France’s rules whereby people can still smoke in an outdoor restaurant. I don’t want your stinking smoke in my face whilst I’m trying to enjoy my lunch. 🚬

Think I’m going to get the joiner who did my office and our attic to come and setup a workbench/storage setup in the garage. Means we can make the most of the space. I just need to figure out what I want. Definitely a tool wall. I hate rummaging in the tool bag for a specific thing. Needs lots of space to store things but also plenty of worktop for building stuff, maybe even a ham workbench as a potential location for my radio. Want to have the cabling such that I could setup in the office or in the garage. I’m even thinking about space for a 3D printer…but all this might be severally reduced once I measure it out and realise there’s only room for two things!

Anyway, it’ll be good to get it sorted out. Plus probably get some storage bins to sort out bits and pieces.

Wednesday, 26th July, 2023

I missed yesterday’s Morse training, and was worried this was already the start of the decline. So this morning I didn’t look at any emails or anything online and just did my practice session. I could tell I’d missed a day as was rusty but after a few goes I got back into it. I do feel like I need to concentrate and not think of anything else at the same time, else I miss a letter and then am behind. The one thing I’m not sure about, which I’ll look up on the LCWO.net’s forums, is when do I move to a new letter? It says once you get to 90% copying then you can move on, but I’ve been trying to get 2 or 3 or more goes in a row where I achieve 90%. I’m just curious what others have found good. As the letters are random then it can be easier or harder depending on what you get.

Still feels somewhat impossible to remember about 40 characters. I’m on 8 at the moment.

I did go down a rabbit hole of looking at the IC-705 portable radio last night. Feeling the familiar self-convincing of why this radio was absolutely perfect for me to buy. So many reasons why I should get it and how it makes perfect sense. Just like the M10-P did…😅

Was chatting about it with my matrix ham group. Wasn’t entirely biased towards me getting it - you know, people always like it when other people buy things. A few people were for it, one was neutral and one had thought about getting it himself then decided it was too expensive and bulky and was a waste.

Sunday, 23rd July, 2023

Did some more practice and did get a little better at N and A. I’m figuring it out each time which isn’t the final end state - it should be instant recognition but I’m sure I’ll get there… although I have questioned why I’m doing this.

We all went swimming at a lake today and got terribly burnt! 🥵

I’d emailed someone an offer for some radio equipment. Took me ages to decide on how much to offer only for him to reply saying it has all sold!

Saturday, 22nd July, 2023

Had one of those days where I look at a hundred things online thinking I’m solving some problem only to realise I don’t even know what the problem is. So many radio related things. It’s like cameras and lenses all over again - “what about this scenario…”. I usually stop this by just going on the radio and using it, but I don’t have anything here.

So back to the age old question of “what do I want to do?”. Although with radio it’s more like “what should I do first?”. I did write a list in dynalist a while back with all the things I want to do. Maybe I should revisit that and expand a little on it.

There’s also the fact that there is no perfect radio, there’s also not much used stock about, at least not in a nice centralised place. eBay isn’t great, there is a forum but not a big population and then stores have a big mark up. Most people on the forums don’t want to post anything either. Some stuff is impractical to post but so many are “cash on collection only. I don’t like PayPal or couriers”. The best places are rallies and club sales but unless you live centrally these aren’t practical.

Maybe it’s a good thing else I’d buy a load of stuff.

I need to sort out what I do have at home, I’m aware the “you need to sort this by end of summer” is creeping closer and I’m not sure I know what I’m doing.

I do know I want to setup a workbench in the garage.

I’m on lesson 6 of 40 of the lcwo website. I found letter speed of 20 wpm and actual of 8 wpm is a good balance to recognise the letter but give me time to process and answer. My plan is to do all 40 lessons at this speed, and then increase the effective wpm up and do various practices such that I can get about 15 wpm. 20 would be the ideal end goal but I’m probably a year from that! I have this weird fear of progressing to the next level in that I’ll reach my limit and not be able to progress. So if I stay at the current level I’ve not failed yet. 🙃

I should stick to it though.

I started a new lesson, A. It’s the opposite to N, which was the last lesson and oh boy I cannot tell the difference. Reminds me of learning the alphabet in French, the vowels in particular. aeiou. E is i and i is e or whatever.

I could tell N in the previous lesson as it was different to the others. Having said this, I’m fairly confident with the other letters covered to far, so probably a few more days at it….hopefully. 🙉

Thursday, 20th July, 2023

So I’ve started learning Morse code…The gist seems to be to listen to the noise and not learning the dots and dashes, and that I need to do one (or ideally two) 10-15 minute sessions a day every day. We’ll see how this lasts.

Tuesday, 18th July, 2023

Kids were up early, so I took the time and caught up a few days of DayOne. It’s good writing it but hard to start. Too easy to get distracted by checking emails, reading newsletters (I both like and dislike newsletters), then looking up something random that’s popped into my head etc. endless things that seem to eat away any spare time I have.

Can’t decide if I should cancel all the newsletters I get. 📰 I do find out new things about the topic from them, and I feel like it saves me hours of random browsing to come up with good items…someone else has done the work. But at the same time I delivers a whole load of new links and text that I feel like I need to read and look at otherwise I get behind in them and before I know it there are several emails all backed up.

I suspect, like most things, I don’t know what I’m missing if I don’t get it. Maybe they need to be filtered or saved elsewhere, so I have them but they’re out of sight? But then to do what with? Delete? Spend a huge lump of time looking through them one day? Do I really need to keep abreast of all these things?

Monday, 17th July, 2023

I’m determined to restart the DayOne habit this holiday, I have no excuse not to write it up. However, it’s 10:30pm and I’ve been up since 3:15am to get the flight and I’ve not written todays…I’ll catch up tomorrow…

I’m in the state of being so tired I can’t go to sleep. Hopefully a few pages of my book will sort me out. I’m back on the characters of the first trilogy of Realm of the Enderlings, and it’s good to be back with them. I’ve nearly read the first book and it’s only been a week.

I should look up that sunny day film filter thing for the XE4 tomorrow. I used it last year on holiday and it works really well with a hot sunny climate. I tried using it at home but it looks weird. Like taking local wine back with you and expecting it to taste the same.

Have been enjoying Astia and Acros (how can’t you) and not being bothered about all the rest or all the options. The new film simulations are fine but the main thing I like about the XE4 is the ability to save white balance settings per preset.

So yeh, good to take photos again, and (hopefully) write up the days again. Probably only happening as I have no radio to play with here….although am thinking about how I might change that for next time. Operate as F/ in France.

Sunday, 16th July, 2023

It’s been a long time since I visited /r/leica. I should run a few rolls through mine again this summer, and develop them…

Also have about 15k of Reddit coins from somewhere which I need to use up before mid-September, so I’m just randomly giving awards out.

Friday, 14th July, 2023

The kids and everyone went out for the afternoon so I had a quiet time at the house. I spent most of it reading my book, and then this months Radcom radio magazine. It was very peaceful and pleasant. I haven’t sat for such a long time and just read a book.

The radio magazine is always very interesting, there are so many projects and facets of it that people are working on. I feel like I can get better in it by reading and learning more. This is compared to photography were getting better is very nuanced.

I have enjoyed taking photos of everybody though.

Thursday, 13th July, 2023

Holiday time! Usually my time of year to come up with plans and ideas, but like a mid-year’s resolution time.

One of which might include morse code. But that could be unrealistic. Would be good to have a radio project that doesn’t involve spending more money 😅 plus I need to finish the QO-100 project.

I’ve got out of the taking photos habit. I’m sat watching the kids and cousins having dinner and normally I’d be taking photos but not really feeling it.

Tuesday, 11th July, 2023

I’m clearly living under a rock and have no idea what Threads is, I’ve seen people talk about it and the tl;dr newsletter tells me 100 million people use it. However, I’m not going to do anything about this ignorance as I’m perfectly content. 😀

Making up some thick, fancy coax for my satellite setup. 📡 It’s the most complex cable make up I’ve done, although it’s not too bad. However, I don’t have some wire cutters that are big enough to cut it in one go!

Some friends came round for dinner last night, and he was very interested in my radio setup. So I took great joy in explaining everything and pointing it out. 🤓📻

Saturday, 8th July, 2023

Kids on summer holidays now. Will never get anything done!

Tuesday, 4th July, 2023

Happy 4th for those in 🇺🇸.

Had a lovely half hour chat on the radio tonight with two guys from Northern Ireland. Doesn’t happen that often - or at least I’ve not tried to make it happen that often. Was really enjoyable.

Also had a nice chat with a lad from Slovenia who is 14 years old and enjoys short wave listening and ham radio as he doesn’t have a smartphone :)

My satellite project is coming along…managed to set it up and listen to the “bird”, and most parts have arrived. Just the actual assembly of it all now…!

Want to make some QSL cards, and send a few off to people I’ve had a nice contact with - like the three this evening.

Saturday, 1st July, 2023

Been tardy on here and especially DayOne. I was writing nearly everyday back in April on DayOne, but May and particularly June have been very poor. I might go back and add some days of things that I remember.

I should really capture the fact my wife got a new job. She hasn’t worked in ten years whilst we were overseas and with the kids. Then the idea job shows up, she applies and gets it!

I setup the satellite dish for receive last night and managed to get it in the right place. That was exciting. That was the easy part.

back home