Wherein I write about things that interest me….


APRS is often misunderstood to mean Automatic Position Reporting System, when, according to creator Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, it actually stands for Automatic Packet Reporting System. Some might maintain that the primary purpose of APRS is vehicle tracking and service position reporting, and, while this is not entirely untrue, it does sell short the possibilities of this excellent technology. \nThe more obvious purposes to which APRS could be put to include announcing services… obviously, being somewhat limited to the Amateur Radio community, services of interest to them would be the first choice. Read more →

WA1ZMS Transatlantic VHF Beacon gets Upgrade

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… 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. Read more →

The New Shack

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.; The Drake came about primarily through hearing Bill Meara going on about them on his podcast Soldersmoke. Read more →

Antenna Feedthrough Panel

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. \nI had a few pieces of 12mm ply lying around, so after measuring the window (23.5 x 13.5) cut one to fit. A little bit of trimming, here and there and a bang with a hammer, and it was a snug a fit as you could ask for. Read more →

Free Technical Books

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 Thanks also to Bill Meara M0HBR (Soldersmoke) for passing on this little;nugget. Read more →

First Moon Picture

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. I tried many permutations of T-adaptor and ring to get a sharp image, but to no avail… or at least not in prime focus mode. I then tried projection mode, which requires inserting an eyepiece into the T-adaptor. Read more →

Free Wifi Hotspots in Galway - Mapping Project

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. Read more →

One-Touch-Tune for FT897

My current HF setup is the Yaesu FT897D, MFJ 993B Auto ATU and 135’ doublet in ‘inverted V’ configuration with the feedpoint at about 35’ high. A good multiband setup which allows me to work locally on 80m and more DX on 40m and 20m. The 993 handles antenna matching duty without a complaint, but the actual tuning procedure is a bit long-winded. After selecting a frequency and having a listen, the first step is to change to AM (or any other carrier mode), then select menu 75 and reduce the power to about 30W so as not to fry the tuner or finals as we get a match. Read more →

Bibliography With CCK and Views

I recently finished a site for an author who has a fairly substantial bibliography. She has also been translated into many languages, has multiple publishers and a wide and active community of readers. A complex ask to create a site that manages all of this content in a relatively simple and not-too-techy way? Well, yes and no. Yes, in that the initial specification was detailed, necessarily, as it was the hook upon which the site would eventually hang. Read more →