June 2024 Entries


Friday, 14th June, 2024

Time flies by on your day off. So many things to do, and I end up doing none of them. Need to go to bed earlier, I’ve been staying up too late this week thinking about all the things I should do and doing none of them.

Went up a hill this morning with my radio. Was meant to be a quick one but didn’t get home til 1:30 and by the time I had lunch and faffed with a new Meshtastic thing it’s school pick up.

Tuesday, 11th June, 2024

It must be that time of year again as I’m thinking about a new blogging platform…not for this site, I still like this one and don’t feel any need to change it. It’s for my amateur radio blog. Mostly trigger by the fact I’ve not written anything on it in ages and I’ve got lots of things I want to write, but I just never do it.

Usually when that happens I decide the problem is that it’s running on a bad choice of blog platform. Particuarly of note is if it’s Wordpress and my neverousness of running a database and so on, vs. just having plain text. There’s really no reason why I need a database, and it’s always the ease of images and using the app on my phone that draws me towards it.

So now I’m thinking that I should move it to a static site generator…but which one…plus I’m looking at easy options like blot.im, or bearblog.dev, etc. They’re nice and have lots of advantages and generally have a good philosphy. However, I then think spending money on hosting is unecessary and I’m still not entirely in control. Blot and bearblog are both the same price a year. Reading the bearblog docs but I do think a simple static site with github build chain is what I should start doing.

I also think about using 11ty as the javascript parts can do interesting things and I think up lots of interesting things but would I ever do them? There’s also Quarto that I moved my main site to. It’s a static generator but has lots of bells and whistles, but again, do I need all that?

Setup my allstarlink node with SIP this morning (it’s all just asterisk anyway), and now I’m thinking of IP phones in the house and the kids would enjoy calling each other. They’re often cheap on ebay so maybe I’ll get a couple and have a play. Technically, I could have a handheld radio and use it to call phones on the network. Even the extent of a repeater in any country in the world that’s connected to the Allstarlink network. Of course, people will point out we have this…in our mobile phones…but not as fun, plus there’s no monthly subscription!

There’s also Pika, which it seems I found in December last year.

Sunday, 9th June, 2024

Had another solar guy round on Friday. He was good, knew lots and didn’t push anything on me. He’s my fav contractor, be interesting to see what he proposes. Got one quite back from the first guy. Need to sit and think about it. He was light on technical details but I could ask.

Been setting up an AllStarLink node. Which is like VoIP but for amateur radio with parts of the links being radio.

Tuesday, 4th June, 2024

Had another solar installer email me with a different panel layout. Using our ENE roof and the WSW one. The east side has a lovely big clear area and it is a great side for installation purposes, but will it generate any power? The west one only has space for two panels and seems a hassle for just two panels. Likewise the same question on power gen.

I used PVGIS again to calculate the power. They do generate power, not as much but it’s something. The west side is better for us for total generation. If they could share scaffolding then maybe I’d think it was a good idea, but I suspect they’d need dedicated scaffolding and so is it really worth it? I’ll wait and see what his quote looks like.

Shame we don’t have a huge garden to do ground mounted.

From an economic standpoint moving to the variable tariff has had the best return. It cost nothing and we’ve saved 23% off our bill. If this is my new starting point then that makes solar harder to justify. If I start from doing nothing then it’s pretty decent payback. I suppose the challenge for myself is to maximise the returns once installed via tariff games and savings schemes that should happen this winter.

Sunday, 2nd June, 2024

I spent ages last night marking up the house drawing with panel configurations. Probably can only fix 6 on the main roof as any more and you start to get too close to edges of other roof parts. Not sure if it’s something they can try when up on the roof fitting the connectors but probably too late at that stage. Maybe I was too harsh on the electrician (not that he knows!) but now I’ve done it myself I feel satisfied that we’re not missing out on a better solution.

Using easypv website is very helpful as it tells me prices and things to consider, plus it does a nice schematic. My decision on DC vs AC coupled battery is still to be made but I do think the extra cost of AC might not be worth it for me. Trying to ask people questions on the /r/SolarUK subreddit to gauge what’s best. Also think going for 80:20 is perfectly fine. It’s probably more like 95:5 and that 5% is driving me to extreme solutions.

Saturday, 1st June, 2024

Had an electrician around for solar and storage. Also chased up two other companies I’d phoned on Monday.

Everyone, and I guess not surprising, wants to do the least effort job, ie the one that means not contacting the power network operator (DNO). They also want to use google maps to size the array. Which is fine and a good way to do things but I got the feeling that it was “here’s a good enough solution, that’ll do.” I’m perhaps unusual in that whilst cost is important it’s not the be all and end all. Application to the DNO will cost money but so what. I also do my own economic modelling, which I guess most people don’t.

When I tell them I have 30 minute variable tariff they look blank at me.

Anyway, I just need to get a couple to come round and then I can convince them I’m serious and move towards what I want. Which is likely to be more expensive than their base design and they’ll be interested as means they’ll earn more? I dunno. Anyway, repeated nagging is needed.

I just need to figure out what it is I actually want 😅

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