Monday, 9 May 2011

Weekends are just too short!

Working away from home during the week inevitably that the weekend proper gets off to a slow and delayed start.

Generally I am so pooped on Friday evening that I am incapable of doing anything remotely demanding, and 24 hours later I am just starting to feel like myself again.

This is how it was last weekend.

Then there is the lawn mowing, plus doing the same for a neighbour who has had the misfortune of having had a heart-attack recently.

The band had a gig too, so that took care of Saturday.

Then there is the paperwork.  You have to be very careful working away that things don't get missed, credit card bills and the like.

What I am trying to say is that, even though the transistors for my TS-180S had arrived, I never got round to fitting the replacement into my PLL WBA.

However, a chance conversation with a colleague about a really neat application from the Sysinternals people (now assimilated by the Borg (sorry, Microsoft!)) called "Desktops" which allows windows users to have multiple desktops in the same way that Ubuntu users have been able to for quite some time.

This little program was downloaded in a trice and installed almost as quickly, and WOW it really is great!

If you do bizarre things with PCs like I do, then this little gem is a godsend.   However, my rather bizarre setup involves having three PCs on line (one is remote in the shed, the other two in my house "radio room") and as all three PCs how potentially have four desktops available at the click of a mouse, then you can guess how confused a fatigued brain can become.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

First Es (Sporadic-E) Opening of the Season

My radio friends know that I spend a lot of energy (mental and electrical) monitoring distant Band I TV stations looking for and recording the effects of meteors on the propagation of signals between that remote transmitter and myself.

A side effect of this is that when Sporadic-E (Es) propagation occurs at the critical point along that path, the effect is obvious.

I was only commenting to two local friends two days ago that this year's Sporadic-E season seems to be late in starting, and my friends were in agreement with that statement.

This morning's events though took an interesting turn at 0906 GMT when the path from Ostrava in the Czech Republic was suddenly enhanced by a burst of Es which lasted for around ten minutes.

The frequency used by the Ostrava TV transmitter is 49.76MHz, just below the amateur "six metre" allocation.

(above) R_Meteor Trace of first Es Opening

SpectrumLab Trace of Es Opening (note +/- 25Hz Sidebands)

By a bizarre coincidence, as I type this entry, I have just heard a Spanish station EA3FER calling CQ in CW on 50.092MHz and shortly after another Spanish station, this time an EA6 call from the Balearics, so it appears that the 6-metre Es season has finally started!