gerry's blog

Posted by gerry

The WA1ZMS Trans-Atlantic beacon/transmitter project has had a recent upgrade to
its operation.

Technical Description:
QTH: FM07fm at 4200ft AMSL
Antenna: 2 6ele yagi stack aimed at 60 degrees to Europe
ERP: 7kw!

From Brian Justin, WA1ZMS/4...
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A land mobile grade base station VHF exciter is used and the 25w driver PA is
keyed for CW modulation. The exciter utilizes a 10MHz frequency reference with
is derived from an HP-Z3801A GPS frequency standard. The TX frequency is

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Posted by gerry

Full Article at Silicon Republic
I have to be honest when I say that this does not inspire confidence. Neither the HSE, nor Eircom has shown themselves to be leading lights of security and disclosure, preferring a more reactive approach of spin in the face of obvious breaches and slips.
It remains to be seen how this plays out, but I, personally, am not expecting any major diversions from form.

Posted by gerry

It's almost exactly a year since Dan Kaminsky announced what has been described the as "as the most egregious network security flaw in 10 years". Long enough, it could be thought, for the network admins at the world's ISPs to get their shops in order and eliminate the bug. Especially, since the work of actually eliminating the vulnerability had been undertaken by the authors of the various vulnerable versions of Bind within weeks of the announcement, and all that was required at the ISP level is to install the patch.

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Posted by gerry

Yesterday, 17th March (St. Patrick's Day) was also the date of the first castle activation for CASHOTA-Ireland. We chose this day for a number of reasons... it was likely that there would be many stations eager to talk to an Irish station, and it was the first day I would have available.
The castle to be activated was Oranmore Castle, resident of World War II Submarine Commander and twice circumnavigator of the world, Commander Bill King. This Castle was designated EI/001/C for the CASHOTA Award.

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Posted by gerry

We (the Galway VHF Group) have a good many portable operations coming up this year, so, to supplement our portable HF antenna collection, I thought a 20m Moxon might be a nice project.
The only real expense was the 4 fibreglass fishing poles, but they ended up very cheap, even when you factor in postage from the UK.
The design was going to be based around a spreader made from a rectangle of 12mm ply, with 25mm dowel bolted on at the relevant angles.

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The New Shack

24 Feb 2009
Posted by gerry

Ok, there have been a few additions, changes, retirements and so in in the old shack. The current lineup is...

VHF/UHF - Yaesu FT736R
4m - Philips FM1000 with PA4DEN 3.2 firmware
HF - Icom IC756 PROIII
HF Receiver - Drake 2B

There's a little story behind each of these rigs. The ones that make me most happy these days are the Drake 2B and the PROIII.

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Feedthrough Panel

24 Feb 2009
Posted by gerry

Finally, after freezing all Winter, I decided to do something a little more secure and warm about getting my various antenna feedlines into the shack. The previous attempt was so slipshod that I think the less said about it, the better, so we'll leave it there.

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First Moon Picture

11 Jan 2009
Posted by gerry

This Christmas, my wonderful GF got me something I have wanted since I was a small boy, a telescope. A damn fine one too.
I have always fancied giving astrophotography a shot, so I got the requisite attachment to hook my D80 up to the scope.

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Free Technical Books

11 Jan 2009
Posted by gerry

Ok, I know the title is probably triggering spam filters all over.
Most people have heard of Project Gutenberg, or, if not, they should have. Now we have the same for tech books.
Pete Millet has devoted some of his spare time to scanning and otherwise digitising technical books on which the copyright has lapsed. Thanks a lot Pete.

Technical Books Online

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Posted by gerry

As a learning exercise I decided to use the Google Maps API to
create something that might be useful. A guide to free wifi hotspots in
Galway. I had a bit of a google around and found one effort that had
been started and died in the same month, about 2 years ago. So… I
figured that the niche still needed to be filled and got to it.

Google provides APIs to many of their apps, Search, Maps and more
recently the Google Ajax Feed. I’ll do something with that in the
future, but for now… I wanted to play with Maps.

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