September 2023 Entries

Saturday, 30th September, 2023

Dad is coming to visit for the day. Which is nice but now I have to tidy up and sort things out. Feels like there are enough chores at the weekend without having to do more.

Finally ordered some coax. Ended up getting the more expensive stuff, but actually when I looked at it, it was only £10 more for 30m which is nothing, so might as well get the better one. Be good to get that sorted so I have the final shack built in the garage. Or at least a working one and then I can think about trying out new antennas and whatever.

Be nice to stop buying so many things and just use what I have. Particularly with the run up to Christmas.

Thursday, 28th September, 2023

Working at home because of the school strike again today. Although only one to look after today and a friend had them for a couple of hours this morning. Those couple of hours flew by and it was one meeting and some emails and that was that!

I need to buy some coax. Not sure if I should get some more expensive but better stuff or just get regular (“regular”, still many options). Sort of thing I won’t be able to tell either way. Also, do I buy 100m of it for a discount and then never need coax again? But spend £180…

So I spend a week debating and doing nothing about it.

Oh look raspberry pi 5. Never bought a 4 as none were available! I want to get one, but no idea what I’d use it for. Could be my shack computer, but seems a hassle…

Saturday, 23rd September, 2023

I’ve found a great use for notebooks now. Conversation notes whilst chatting on the radio. Particularly the satellite as I often have 1+ hour chats on it. As radio is asynchronous and often people talk about several topics at once in one over, I have to make notes of what they’ve said, what they’ve asked and things I want to say. This is even more important in nets whereby there are multiple people all talking but we take it in turn going around the group. So in a small group of 5 people, you can have lots of topics and questions and things to remember to respond to.

Anyway, I like using larger-than-normal field notes book I have with a mechanical pencil.

Friday, 22nd September, 2023

Another week gone, and almost another month too.

From tinylytics I can see one person has visited this site and my main blog in past 24 hours, but my radio blog has had 4 visitors! The radio one is much more discoverable as I link to it from my profile, and most amateur’s visit QRZ when speaking with people to see who it is, where they are, and what they have on their profile. I like viewing their profile to ensure I copied the callsign correctly, see their name and location without having to write it down when they tell me. Particularly if it’s not “Jon or Bill” and a european name. Perhaps I should put a few more things on my site for people to look at. Keep meaning to add my “shack” setup with radios and info on it. Perhaps I’ll do that tonight.

Some lithium ion cells arrived today for my battery pack project. They explicitly say they are not for consumers to use, and great warnings of fire and so on. I’m sure this’ll be a good project…👩‍🚒

iCloud mail in thunderbird is annoying. Can’t get it to work…have app-specific password but something isn’t right. I know it does work as I set it up for my dad. Logging into icloud mail web app is painful, mostly as it seems to always trigger locking my icloud account so I have to unlock it first. iCloud mail handling email with my domain is easy but without a mac, getting email is a pain.

School support staff are striking, and so the kids are off until next Friday now. Wife has them two days, and I have one day off…guess I’m “working” at home the other day! They’re excited to have lots of time at home to do things. Probably they’ll be given work to do, but who’s going to do that!

Picked up a used yagi antenna for working satellites from the ham radio forums for a good price. I posted a wanted ad after I’ve been searching for ages and someone replied later that day! Called me up and we had a nice chat. The more he spoke, the more things he was going to throw into the parcel for me.

I think wanted ads actually work well in ham radio. People tend to have a lot of stuff but can’t be bothered selling it or thinking no-one will want it. However, they then see a wanted ad and think it’s a good way to get rid of something they never use, get a bit of money and hope that the buyer is going to make use of it. At least that was my impression from speaking with Michael.

Now all I need to do is figure out how to use this handheld and what the protocol is for working FM satellites. I’m excited about it, and I can only imagine how cool I’ll look with a massive TV aerial, headphones and clutter, talking code and waving my arm through the air at nothing.

I’m not buying a 2024 Hobonichi. I wrote on January 16th, a Monday, a list of todos, and never wrote in it again. Guess I could keep it until 2034 and use it again…

At the start of the year, I decided I would buy books if I wanted them, and it was not a waste of money. Apart from a couple of radio books, I’ve not bought any in a long time. I’ve also not read the ones I did buy. I don’t think it matters and I still will buy any books I want. I should buy some for my wife as it’s our anniversary next week. Which reminds me that I bought a card last week and “put it somewhere safe”. Not sure I remember where that is now.

Thursday, 21st September, 2023

I think Jack shared tinylytics, and so I’ve added it to all my sites. I’ve never had analytics before, and this looks like a low impact, simple but effective stats for my sites.

Adding html script to wordpress block editor is a pain, but think I got it sorted out.

I’m interested to see how many (if any!) people read my sites and how the visitors are split between them. I primarily maintain these sites for me - this one especially. I think this site is my favourite of all my websites. My new radio blog is good but it’ll probably grow dormant over time, where as this hasn’t and I imagine it won’t. I always have some thoughts during the day that I want to write on here.

I can’t decide what to do this evening…I’ve spent many evenings designing the garage layout, getting some parts to build a battery and a lightweight, portable antenna, and generally looking at things. Thought about sitting at the bureau and writing something, maybe even on here with the iPad. Or chatting on QO-100 satellite, I’ve not been on it in about 10 days. Or chatting on 40m with UK locals. Or seeing who’s out further afield.

I’ve got the drawers and whatnot for the garage to build, but I’m a bit tired and prone to making mistakes, so I’ll leave that for now.

Maybe I should sort out that mac mini I bought in January - the old one I was going to run OS 9 on. Or maybe I should just sell it!

Wednesday, 20th September, 2023

The bureau is nicely organised with pens and paper and all sorts. Guess I should sit down at it and write something…some day…

Bought some more tools and bits for making a battery pack. Constant buying of things…but tools seem like a good investment.

All the IKEA stuff arrives tomorrow for the garage refit. Building it all won’t be too much of a hassle, maybe in the evening or at the weekend, but the sort out and organisation of all the things…now that’ll be quite the effort.

I’m a member of the g-qrp group, which is all about promoting the use of low power radio communications. I like it as it’s within my reach and I think there’s something quite satisfying about making a contact only using 20/10/5/1W of power. They have a club sales for buying components and books and things. I ordered some of the books and a USB stick of all back issues of their quarterly magazine. The current shop runner/volunteer is looking to stop doing it and they want a replacement. I’m tempted to do it…but it could also be way more than I want to do. Perhaps if I were retired it would be a good activity but right now I have minimal free time and do I really want to be managing inventory and orders etc.?

I like the idea of it, but probably not the doing of it.

Sunday, 17th September, 2023

Started unpacking in the bureau. So many little sections for paper and envelopes and all sorts! Have to decide what goes in a drawer and what goes in a more accessible place.

Makes me think about all the things I should write down but never do.

Have many things into my ikea basket for the shack/workshop build in the garage. Seeing if it’ll fit in the car or if I’ll have to pay for delivery. The biggest part is the 2.5m worktop. Whilst that should fit in the car I don’t know how big it’ll actually be when packaged up. Plus with everything else I want.

I’ll still have to do some cable routing for the antenna when I move the radio, although thinking about a pole on the side of the house. Would be just through the wall where the radio will be, so very handy that way, but will others want me to put that up…a lot of work still 😮‍💨

Looking forward to just organising the garage more. It’s not really been done since we moved in ~3 years ago. Stuff was just put on shelves to get it out the way.

The bureau and the garage workbench is starting to clear the office up as well. It’s nice to have some space again in there.

I always like the ikea pictures of rooms that they do. Clean and organised but still with some life. However, no one is ever going to pass on ikea furniture, other than for pure practicality.

Thursday, 14th September, 2023

It seems the done thing that in your kids last year of primary school for either Christmas or birthday they get a mobile phone. This is presumably so they have some time to aquaint themselves with it before high school.

So we’re in that stage.

Might as well go for Christmas to get it over with and thinking of giving our daughter my phone. Probably get a new battery from apple.

This led to me wonder what I should get in replacement. I did start thinking about if I could get away with a dumb phone. Or maybe try it whilst I wait for a good deal on another one. I tried thinking what I’d miss most. There’s podcasts and music, although I don’t often listen to music on my phone. There’s practical stuff like 2FA via an app and authorising credit card purchases via the app. Some of those can be moved to SMS or on my bitwarden server. There’s the lack of ability to write this. Maps. Opening garage door via HomeKit. A camera always on me. We now have an app to manage our home network.

The list goes on as I look more carefully at my apps and what I use.

Not sure it’s worthwhile these days, but it would be worth it for people’s reactions at work!

Am I wondering about Android…

Sunday, 10th September, 2023

Another hot sunny day. Rain is due imminently though.

Found an alternative configuration for the ikea drawers which looks a lot better. So I’m more content with it. It’s still not cheap but think it’ll be nice having plenty of drawer storage. We will see what the boss thinks of it though.

I walked into a door handle and it bloody hurt. Right in the gut and hand me lying on the floor shouting. All the kids came to see.

I see used radio stuff come up and wonder if I should buy it now for future projects or wait and see if I ever do those future projects. I just know when I do those projects, whatever I need won’t be available.

Saturday, 9th September, 2023

Weather is amazing! 26 degrees today! Probably go to the beach later this afternoon.

Managed to repair my bike today. The bearings in the headset had seized and I couldn’t steer - just a minor problem… I did put in one of the bearings upside down and then wreck it, but luckily one of the old ones was still in good shape so I could use that. Should’ve looked at the drawing before I put it back together thinking “I know how this goes”.

Not sure on this IKEA garage arrangement now, it’s quite pricy and for what will essentially be a cobbled together collection of things. Now I’m wondering if doing a “kitchen” in there will be cheaper. Maybe some more research on all the parts. I’m leaning heavily towards having lots of drawers vs. shelving. I think it helps keep things more organised and looks tidy. Yet to show it to my wife though, who was “whatever you want”, but also “I need to see it before you buy stuff” 😅

Starfield computer game came out, and I can play it for free on xbox game pass. It’s like Fallout but in space and made by Bethesda, so should be good. Can’t decide if I should play it or not. Probably enjoyable but a waste of time? My alternative is go on the radio…or do some radio things that I have a bit list of.

Maybe I should take a film camera to the beach, given it’s brilliant sun light I could use some of the ISO 100 films I have at faster than f/1.4 1/60th..

Friday, 8th September, 2023

I want to go re-read journal entries from last year. Can’t really remember what I was up to, probably obsessing over a M10-P.

Been thinking about a second car. Kids activities and wife back at work, logistics are getting tricky. I really don’t want to get another car but there we go. Work is about to roll out an EV purchase scheme where you buy it before taxes. Great savings, except EVs are bloody expensive to start with. Work offers cheap charging and it’ll just be going about town, so I think it’s a good idea. But maybe spending <£4K on a used gas car would be better than £250pm for 2 years renting a car.

Started planning the garage workbench setup. Thinking of doing an ikea build of drawers and shelves and worktop and assembling something. Saw my film box and developing stuff in there. I need to not work to have time for all this.

Friday, 1st September, 2023

I wrote an entry yesterday whilst at work but I forgot to commit it. Today I worked at home and use my own computer. So it’ll have to wait till Monday.

Started using NodeRed to make some dashboards and tools for radio. It’s pretty neat. Low code platform is what you’d call it these days.

It can interface with the radio and control it and get information but for the time being in making a helper tool for writing logs with using the QO-100 geo satellite.

Remember how I used to agonise over what camera I wanted. I’m that again, except this time it’s about a radio to take with me to France or other travels. I know what I want, a KX2, it’s just it’s not available as Elecraft still have massive component shortages and huge delays. No one in the U.K. is stocking them either. I could order direct from us and wait 3-4 months but I’ll probably have to pay import duties on top.

There are others but some compromise or trade off to deal with. 🙄🤔

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