This Website is now back up and running

After a hardware failure earlier this year of a portion of the Skynet cluster (the University of Limerick Computer Society system that hosts my site) my website was not able to be served to the world at large. This situation has been fixed, and I now have my space on the web available again. I’ll be resurrecting some of the posts made since March this year as I recover from backups. It is good to be back online here!

Change of car.

I am now driving a very Switzerland-appropriate car. It’s left-hand drive, and amusingly enough it actually blends in with the other Swiss cars fairly well.. This new car is an October 2011 built Porsche Cayenne Turbo, in Meteor Grey metallic paint. It’s got a few nice extras over and above the normal Turbo specification which is plush enough to start with. The extras include the double-glazed cabin glass, the panoramic roof, the 14-way electric comfort seats with heat and ventilation, the keyless-go system, the removable hitch, the carbon interior accents, the cargo management system, the radar-controlled adaptive cruise control, the …

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New callsign allocated

As I have a valid HAREC certificate from the IRTS exam I took last July 2020, I am entitled to apply for a local callsign here in Switzerland. The application went in to the BAKOM group last week, and they send me out a lovely little very professional state-generated credit-card sized ID-type card with my photo and my new callsign on it. So for operating here in the Zurich region, I am HB9HJF, with a full Swiss amateur radio license, and I can use the full 1000W allowed under Swiss law for the majority of the amateur band allocations. Some …

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Bikeforums.net – Idiots? Maybe. Illegal? Probably. GDPR violators? Definitely!

I joined the online forum “bikeforums.net” back in 2012, just to be able to read some of the postings on the road bike section. I didn’t post anything there in my time as a forum member, the community just didn’t interest me much, and they really didn’t seem like the most friendly bunch, but I thought nothing of it really – no skin from my back. However, over the past ~18 months or so, I started to get really stupid/medically dangerous spam to the address I used to sign up to those forums. Upon checking the forums, I could see …

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A good day on the radio.

Towards the end of 2020, I set myself an interesting challenge: On each band I can transmit on with the FT-891: Make at least one international contact on FT8 Within the 12 hour period from 9am. I used the DX Commander for QSOs on 80m, 40m, and 30m. I used the Hexbeam for QSOs on 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m, 10m, and 6m. My in-progress longwave MagLoop was then used for 60m and 160m. Interesting QSOs from the day? 6m was open to Iberia and I made a few contacts to Spain and Portugal. My only 10m contact was in the …

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Licensed Drone Operator

I decided to branch out my hobbies into the flying of small unmanned aerial vehicles, and I obtained a DJI Mavic Air 2 over the weekend. I’ve already passed all necessary qualifications to hold the IAA drone operator’s license which is applicable all across Europe. That little aircraft is amazing really. The level of control it has, and the footage capability it has, are both so far ahead of what I previously had used. I’ve flown it through my Hexbeam radio antenna, I’ve flown it around and through the swingset on the lawn, and I can fly it around a …

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How dumb is dumb? This dumb..

Some time in the past two years, I had my Celestron CPC800 telescope on the footpath to the rear of the house, taking a look through the developing twilight at the planets Jupiter and Saturn. I had invited the others in the house to come out and take a look, as for some it was to be their first time actually seeing the gas giants through a telescope. One of the girls enjoyed looking at Jupiter and could discern the equatorial bands, then could see the Cassini division in Saturn’s rings. She then looks up at me and asks in …

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You may now call me EI4IWB

Echo India Four India Whiskey Bravo. That’s my new identity ont he airwaves. Saturday July 25th, I travelled to the Maldron hotel in Tallaght, Dublin, to sit the IRTS/Comreg HAREC Amateur Radio Licensing exam. Two-part paper, two hours long, 60 multiple choice sections, questions chosen from the syllabus and corrected by Comreg. About ten days later, including a 5-day quarantine of the paperwork to comply with Covid-19 regulations, I was informed of my e-Licensing account with Comreg. Later that evening the exam results were posted up, and I had a grade of “Pass” with a score of 85%, >60% needed …

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Solder kits – soothing constructions and learning tools

Since the start of the year, I’ve been teaching myself how to solder properly. I’ve found that putting together a complex kit is something akin to the same sense of progress and accomplishment that I used get with e.g. Lego Technic kits as kid. It’s good to get back the access to that set of feelings! I started with some cheap antenna kits from the QRP Guys to get better reception on my SDRs, found I quite liked putting them together and fettling them after the completion of construction. I purchased a proper Weller soldering station from Amazon and a …

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