2021-01-28 Found on YouTube: Cruising The Cut
A while ago the YouTube suggestion algorithm came up with a video about a TV journalist / cameraperson who decided to live and work full-time on a narrowboat in the canals of England. The suggested video: TV Journalist Quits His Job to Live on a Tiny House Boat & Cruise UK Canals Full-Time. I guess the suggestion was in relation to some videos I watched about people with expedition vehicles. After that video I checked out the YouTube channel mentioned in the video: Cruising the Cut and I got addicted. By now I have watched more than two-thirds of the videos in the channel. David Johns describes the first steps in buying the boat, getting the boat ready to live on and the journeys along the canal network in England. The exact measures of the narrowboat are to make it fit in the canals that were dug in England as the first way to move goods when the industrial revolution allowed centralized production. The boats are 2.08 meter (6 feet 10 inches) wide to fit in all the canals and locks. The canals were dug by hand, so they are no wider and deeper than needed to transport goods. I did ask David about the term 'the Cut' because I couldn't find a good explanation for it. It is the term for the canal, because the canals were cut out of the land by hand. For my Dutch readers who wonder about canals in a not completely flat landscape: canals in England have lots of locks, tunnels and aqueducts to deal with those. Somehow this idea of a moveable home is nice to me. At the same time I am not a person for living on the water, and with all the plans for long cycling tours I still want to return to a nice home with all the comforts. One note: I do notice that David Johns comes from a background in television. Great quality video. And yes, I am fully aware that takes a lot of editing.
2020-08-23 Getting work done on the Camp Wireless rewrite
In the last few weeks I had actual time to work on the planned rewrite of Camp Wireless in perl. I rewrote it in perl and redid a small part of the CSS to use the CSS grid model to optimize Camp Wireless based on screen size. In the coming days I will create an 'acceptance' version of the site using the production version of the database, to iron out the last errors. I still need to finish the correct 404 generation from within mod_perl scripts, advertising and some specific cases. And it's a good idea to run a website security scan on my work. The look and feel hasn't changed a lot. I decided to present the same information in the same order and maintain most of the screenlayout.
2020-06-28 Future cycling goals (2)
As I mentioned before I have some future cycling goals which include some form of long-distance cycling journey, with serious influences from the book Computing Across America. Naturally amateur radio will play a part in such a cycling journey, just as Steven K. Roberts had on his trips. Via the german amateur radio club DARC I found this bit in the "Deutschland-Rundspruch 24/2020":DK3JB erreicht erstes Ziel auf seiner Funk-Fahrrad-Reise Hans-Gerhard Maiwald, DK3JB, hat nach mühsamer und beschwerlicher Fahrt, teilweise auch wegen schlechter Radwege, am 15. Juni gegen 21 Uhr sein erstes Ziel, Kappel im Hochschwarzwald, erreicht. Dabei legte er ohne E-Unterstützung 580 km mit seinem 40 kg schweren Radanhänger zurück. Dem 72-jährigen OM geht es gesundheitlich gut. Hans-Gerhard gelang es, den weitaus größten Teil der Strecke permanent mit seinem TH-D74 in APRS aufzuzeichnen. Dabei hat sich der 1200 g schwere 12 V/20-Ah-Lithium-Ionen-Akku sehr bewährt. DK3JB hat zahlreiche Verbindungen in FM und D-Star vom Fahrrad aus getätigt. Durch Ludwigshafen wurde er von mehreren Funkamateuren gelotst und seine Route mitverfolgt. Hans-Gerhard bleibt bis Sonntag in Kappel und radelt danach vorerst an den Bodensee weiter.And I found out more about the cycling tours between Siegen and Friedrichshafen in Germany via Funk-Fahrradtouren of DK3JB and it is very inspiring to me. There is also an article DK3JB wieder mit dem Fahrrad unterwegs nach Friedrichshafen - funkamateur.de with information about this tour in 2020 (all in German, which I can read but not really write). He has done this tour several years already, I found an article from the June 2008 trip: Mit Fahrrad, Zelft und FTM-10SE durch Süddeutschland (pdf). After having read a book about cycling through Europe with the Rhine as one possible route, this confirms my earlier thoughts. Combining recumbent cycling, amateur radio and a nice ride through Europe is the direction I'm thinking.
2020-05-12 Changing the CSS grid depending on screen size
A special feature I realized when working with the CSS grids is that I can change the order in which objects are displayed based on screen width. Or whether they appear at all on small screens. So now I'm working on stylesheets that change the grid to what works better on a mobile device. Which is what a lot of the visitors to Camp Wireless use! On a small screen I want the important content to come first. There is not enough space for the extras at the top, and a mobile visitor wants fast answers to the question "where can I find a campsite".
2020-05-06 I discovered the CSS grid model
In my todo-list is a rewrite of Camp Wireless to stop maintaining PHP and make it more mobile-device friendly. The reason to stop maintaining php is because I don't like it anymore which gives me a risk of having insecure code, which would be really bad for me. I'm rewriting it in Perl which isn't todays choice in web development either but it is what I can program good enough to avoid security errors. The reason to make it more mobile-device friendly is that over half of the visitors to the site are using mobile devices. They want to find a campsite while travelling with a smartphone or other mobile device. I was already using a media selector CSS, with variations for printer, I'm now looking at CSS grids which allows me to device the page into regions that move place depending on the available screensize. This makes separating content from page layout even easier.
2020-05-01 I'm not intimidated by morse anymore
Today I "chased" the special amateur radio call for the Bulgarian Saint of this month, LZ177GL. The Bulgarian Saints are a set of special amateur radio calls each month, organized in Bulgaria by Bulgarian Radio Club BLAGOVESTNIK LZ1KCP. The callsigns are in honour of saints from the orthodox church. LZ177GL was calling CQ at a rate of about 28 words per minute. My current rate is 12-13 words per minute, so that's quite a lot faster. But it doesn't intimidate me anymore, I can hear the callsign on a few repeats, I can hear when the return is with my full callsign and a 5NN (signal report) or a part of my callsign and a question mark. Or when the answer is for another station. And that's enough to make the contact with the absolute minimum information, exchanging callsigns and signal reports. When I'm convinced my callsign got across I send '5NN TU 73' to finish the contact. I also made some other contacts in morse because I could hear CQ calls and was able to decode them by ear together with some help from fldigi. So my conclusion is that morse isn't "intimidating" anymore. I can understand enough to get an idea what is going on and use it.
2019-11-16 Getting distracted by weird noises and listening to data from car tires
I was tuning across the 70cm amateur band and heard lots of weird noises around 433.92 MHz. Which is logical: that's the ISM band (industrial, scientific and medical) so lots of unlicensed low-power signals there.Read the rest of Getting distracted by weird noises and listening to data from car tires
That triggered me to update rtl_433 and see what I could receive. The answer after some searching how to build a running version: a lot. Including tire pressure monitoring sensors (TPMS) on a nearby car:time : 2019-11-16 15:33:25 model : Toyota type : TPMS id : fb8c8bf9 status : 128 pressure_PSI: 38.500 temperature_C: 6.000 mic : CRCThere is indeed a Toyota parked across the street. I see three different values for 'id' suggesting that three wheels are 'awake' and reporting tire pressure data about every two minutes. According to eavesdropping the wheels, a close look at TPMS signals the sensors should only activate when the car is going faster than 40 km/h or when a special LF signal is active.
2019-07-03 Unix printing isn't what it used to be
My wife bought a new inkjet printer because the previous one was failing. The new one is a HP deskjet 2630, and it has wifi support. Out of the box it was playing access-point on the busy 2.4 GHz band making it even more crowded so I asked her to disable the wifi. She used the printer nicely with the USB cable and asked me to look into putting it on the network so it can be in a different room and not in the way. Today I had a look into that. I hoped it could be a wifi client. Yes it can. The first two explanations on how to set that up started with 'using the windows HP software'. The third one had 'press and hold the wifi button to connect using wps'. So I enabled wps on the wifi network, did the wps mating and saw arpwatch note the new IPv4 addres in use. For a laugh I tried whether it has an IPP server running. It has. So adding it under linux should not be completely impossible. Search for 'linux hp deskjet 2630' and notice it needs the hplip package. Which is already installed in my recent Ubuntu. So I just opened the cups printer browser, saw the HP deskjet show up, selected that and printed a test page. Which came out correctly. Typing this took longer than the actual steps I took, and searching websites with explanations took most of the time. I'm still in the "what just happened?" stage, remembering long fights with printer drivers, network printing and losing everything at upgrades. Update: Adding the printer in Windows 10 was harder, we needed to use the HP software to add it which tried to sell us "HP instant ink" service before allowing the printer to be used in Windows.
2019-04-24 I applied for the ARRL DXCC award
After getting to the magic number of getting contacts with 100 DXCC entities confirmed I applied for (and paid for) the ARRL DXCC award, the American Radio Relay League DX Century Club award. So I guess I have to admit I'm a serious DX chaser!Read the rest of I applied for the ARRL DXCC award
2019-03-29 Still looking for the correct frequency for FT8 on the 70 centimeter bandItems with tag shiny before 2019-03-29
Although FT8 does great work for weak signal reception on HF bands it's also nice for the 2 meter band and the 70 centimeter band. So after lots of tries with the 2 meter band I decided to give the 70 centimeter band another try. But, there is one thing: there aren't many stations active in FT8 on 70 centimeter and even when one is active in the nearby area that station may be on a different FT8 frequency. The real standard is not there yet. Until now I've seen:
I check for activity via the PSKreporter site. My two FT8 on 70 centimeter contacts where on 432.174 and 432.176.
- 432.174 MHz
- 432.176 MHz
- 434.670 MHz