Thursday, 13 December 2018

Meteor Scatter

We are entering the annual Geminid meteor shower.
Instead of pretending to be a brass monkey standing outside watching for them I decided to try using them to communicate using amateur radio.

This is done with a special computer program which repeatedly sends bursts of very short signals for fifteen seconds and then listens for any signals for fifteen seconds. The transmissions are sent out in all directions. With luck a small portion will be scattered from the ionised trails left behind each meteor as it burns up in the atmosphere and picked up by another amateur radio station. Hence the mode of communication is known as meteor scatter.

I had installed the latest version of the software I use and gave it a try out.
Many amateurs link the software to automatically report any signals it decoded to a web site so I could see that my signals were being picked up in France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden as well as the UK.

Last night I made my first ever two way contact using meteor scatter with a station in Wales.
The program looks like this.

Screenshot (2018-12-12 6.36.42 pm)

The top section shows a visual representation of any signals received.
On the left are the decoded signals.
On the right is what I send and what is sent to me.
M1BTR is my callsign. JO03 indicates approximately where I am in the country.
CQ means a general call for anyone to reply.
R, or sometimes RR, means message received.
73 is the code used for Best Wishes. Usually used as a Good Bye at the end of a contact.
Other numbers can refer to the strength of the received signal, time, and the frequency being used.

Many colours are used to make it easier to see what is what.
Red for messages transmitted to me.
Yellow for messages I transmit.
Green for any station I have made a successful two way contact with.
White for a message that is being sent between two other amateur radio operators.
Pink for a general call from a station I have not contacted yet.
A dark mauve would be used for a country I have not contacted at all.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Indoor Rainbows

Standing on the mantelpiece is a tall candle stick which has a cut glass (plastic?) section.
When the low Sun shines through the end window I end up with various rainbows displayed.



Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Animated Text - First Attempt

Had a bit of a blenderising session with Blender running in Ubuntu.

Watched and followed the detailed instructions in the superb YouTube tutorial by tutor4u
(Wood Chipping Text Animation) but chose a different texture.

Next stage will be to use a different font now I have found out how to choose the one I want.
That's the theory, anyway.
It also needs a bit more depth / thickness.
Finally I need to find out how to make the background transparent.
Green screen wouldn't work as the hedge is green.
Might try a blue background.

Not certain yet what the finished video will be like.
The first idea was to have the message appearing from a wind blown hedge.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Monday Montage

A reminder of last week's WidsMob Montage modified photo

Montage 54

which started out as


and was correctly identified by Adrian, Ragged Robin and Wilma as a cactus plant.

This will be the last puzzle picture for this year.

Montage 55

which was a photo of what?

If you would like to have a guess then please leave it in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the original photo, next Monday.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Still Flowering

This Faucaria has been flowering for nearly a month.


As with many succulents the flowers only open when there is sufficient Sunlight on the plant.
Today they didn't open until mid afternoon, once the thick rain clouds had moved away.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Grub Up

On Monday I had to visit our nearest village Post office and general store.
I always have a good look at the chilled area where produce from local butchers can be found.
The packaging not only gives a use by date but also the date it was packed.
A reassurance of how fresh the produce is.
Along with my favourite chicken and steak pies I spotted a pack of lamb steaks which I couldn't resist.

Today was the day to do something with them.
Out with my old, heavyweight deep frying pan.
Fry briefly in Olive Oil to seal them.
Then cover with with a 'gravy' made with chicken Oxo and Bisto beef gravy granules.
Cover the frying pan with a perforated lid.
Simmer while potato chunks and mixed veg are cooking in the steamer.
Sliced carrot, green beans, peas, cauliflower, etc..

The enticing, mouth watering odour was making us both drool while we impatiently waited.

I am getting a share, aren't I?

Not to worry. Plenty for both of us.

My share

Penny's share

Needless to say her share disappeared in no time

I finished off with a Sainsbury's individual strawberry trifle

As Dell Boy would say - lovely jublby.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Sunrise, Moon and Venus

Yesterday morning dawned cold and frosty with a fairly clear sky.
Ideal to see Venus which was shining as bright as the Moon.
Both appearing close together in the morning sky.

Moon and Venus DSCN9245

Venus is the tiny white dot near the top, right of centre.
To the naked eye it looked really bright.

With the temperature at 0C and an icy lane it was time to use my shoes which have ice spikes fitted for the first time this back end.

Frosty Bin

2018-12-04-10.49.25 ZS PMax2

Wheelie bin lid covered in frost.
Canon 50D + macro lens. 11 stacked photos
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