Tidying the shack

It has been a mixed bag with the weather here, so not as much as chance to do the outdoor work I had wanted to do. Mostly its prep for when the Nebula arrives as in measuring out a 5m circumference for the guying points, no chance of that with the wind and rain !

As is I decided to tidy my shack up. As I’m doing far more software development than before and less time with the synths I’ve moved the music equipment to the ‘spare’ room. Everything has fitted quite nicely back in there, making it into a nice dedicated space for the synths. I will take pics when my lad is back and we have it all working agian !

My main motivation in tidying the shack was to get several of my rigs out and make the exterieor and interior cabling as tidy as possible. I really dislike untidy cables, especially in ‘racks’, so i really wanted to get my shack tidy !

Having moved mac #2 out, i have now moved my ‘build’ station to that desk, freeing up the space near the windows where rigs have tended to go (and will likely stay there). Also i have a nice desk for prototyping and working with my new Raspberry Pi 400. I’ve put in a smaller mixer which i will use for the radio audio and maybe the mac audio (good the occasional movie!)

messy cables ugh ! and i can re-work the PSU correctly 🙂

As you can its a heck of a mess at the moment, but this is after moving computer desks around. There is so much cabling with all these things, its quite amazing how it builds up !

The radio worked fine, but I’ve not reconnected the computer yet.

The fish eye lens gives a good view of the room and the new free space, yes that is an exercise bike ! I actually use it durign the week when working, i have 15 minutes away from the keyboard very hour or so to help me concentrate and also get some safe exercise ! but as you can see its quite a mess in here, but still better than it has been.

I love the new RPI 400. At £100 for a Pi, it wasnt cheap, but i love the functionality. Obviously i have a full-scale mac that I use for all my work, but I think the PI will see alot of Pi R&D with actual device I/O programming. The keyboard is excellent and the mouse very ergonomic. I was able to use Youtube, webbrowsing with no problem, its a very capable unit. I wont be in any rush to remove the OS from it, next steps will be to setup the physical ‘build’ board to do some hardware prototyping with.

Here is the smaller mixer I am using for now. Its not as complex and nor does it have USB input for a mac, but i like the size and simplicty of it. As long as I can descern the radio output from headphones and the speakers, it will do for me.

My next job (and why i’ve not gone crazy/OCD On tidying the upper desks) is to install these under desk cable trays. I think they will help alot as i can put the PSU strips in there and also velcro the cables together. I am not 100% on how to tidy the RX/TX cables – its so overlooked that the sheaths are also conductors, so its important to get things like RF bonding and earthing right to remove any in-shack RFI. I’ve asked a fellow Youtube Ham for help, so wont post on here yet, but hopefully stage 2 will have a link to that video 🙂

In the mean time I am looking forward to the Nebula arriving in the coming weeks and getting a couple more transceivers out of storage. I’m keen to get back onto VHF/UHF and maybe even 6M, will see how the tidying goes and how much space i have.

Until then 73 & Stay Safe !

Alan / 2E0FWE

OTH & JS8

Whilst enjoying my studies of Machine Learning I had the radio on in the background. I was very interested to see some ‘patterns’ on the 40m band

Interesting patterns in the waterfall

Not right at this time, but earlier in the day my fellow ‘neighbour’ ham G7VRD told me these are OTH. What is that ? Well this is Over the Horizon Radar, where radio signals are based off the ionosphere and then measured. They have been around a while, as in the 1950s, but technology has ‘evolved’ and ‘new’ arrays are being built ! These patterns were throughout the 40m band most of the evening ! Whilst annoying if you wanted to use the band for its intended use, nevertheless provided some interesting reading on what OTH was and how it worked.

FT8 and JS8 Call

Whilst I was busy with Juypter Notebooks, and as I now have the antennas plugged in thought it interesting to monitor JS8. Its nearby digital mode of FT8 gets plenty of traffic, JS8 is very sparse, which seems a shame as it looks a good way to ‘chat’ via FT8 digital mode.

I sent out HB and ACK’s and it was clear there are people listening, but not many sending CQ, nethertheless it was an interesting evening and this somewhat ‘dubious’ amateur transmission was observed, whilst interesting am wondering the legitimiacy of it.

Covid Stats transmitted into JS8 Call (no call signs only a reference of the source material)

I enjoyed seeing JS8 Call in operation though and didnt interrupt my studies, so i could do a bit of both.

late into the night… that’s data science for you and having a day job

So i enjoyed my FT8 and Data Science, having worked thru the night and with work-work the next day headed for bed eventually at 4AM.. 🙂

Stay safe and keep well !

Al / 2E0FWE

A bit of time off the radio

Been off the radio for the last week or so for exam revision (passed, if your interested its for IAC Terraform). Am waiting for the Nebula to arrive, so not been able to post about making cables, etc. I dont really want to use the new cable for the existing antennas, will see what is left after the nebula arrives.

I’ve only just today re-plugged my antennas back in the very late evening around midnight. Am thoroughly enjoying listening to a ‘net’ on 3.767, its coming thru crystal clear, its really nice to hear all ends of the conversation. Not caught any call signs yet, but I’m only half paying attention, but the banters good.

I’ve ordered a rotator from Farnell for the MFJ1886, being a VH226E. I didnt want anythign very expensive for a heavier Yagi or any other setup, i’ve got enough, probalby too many, antennas up, and just want to rotate my MFJ1886.

I’ve not really done a review on it yet, just not had the time… Uni work and work-work are just keeping me so busy, and absence of antennas..

Anyhow, good news on the C19 front today, lets hope that we can all stay safe and keep well.

73, Alan / 2E0FWE