Monday, 13 July 2020

Monday Mystery

Last weeks close up


was correctly identified as part of


a chimney pot.
Well done to the Veg Artist, Thelma, Adrian, Dave, Ragged Robin and Ellen D.

I had that top vent installed some years ago after a Starling fell down and got trapped behind my gas fire.

Indoors this time for the new close shot


of what?

Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Receiving Weather Satellite Pictures

Many years ago I built a kit receiver for capturing the pictures from polar orbiting weather satellites. Unfortunately it is no longer supported and can't receive the signals from the latest satellites. A few days ago I spotted an article written by two young lady amateur radio enthusiasts detailing how to use an SDR (software defined radio) to do the job. It can be found HERE.

This is the SDR


a receiver in a USB dongle which is controlled and tuned by software on a computer. The above mentioned article gives very clear, detailed instructions how to set things up on a Windows or Mac computer. I downloaded and installed everything needed for my MacBook.

The other thing required of course is an aerial. Several types are discussed in the article.
Fortunately I still had the aerial I built years ago.


This is the most complicated type to build and gives excellent reception.

There are three programs running on the computer.
One to control the SDR and tune it to the satellite signal.


One to decode the signal and build up the pictures.


The third is a hidden program used to channel the sound from the receiver to the map processor.

Received pictures look like this

NOAA 15 at 12 Jul 2020 08:44:52 GMT

in fact two pictures side by side, one normal light and the other IR.

Once they have been received the software processes them together, adds false colour and country outlines to produce different combinations:

NOAA 15 at 12 Jul 2020 08:44:52 GMT

NOAA 15 at 12 Jul 2020 08:44:52 GMT

Those are pictures I received this morning.
This has been a quick outline of what I did. If you fancy having a go do look at the article mention at the start of this post.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Bumble Bees Love Lavender

My two lavender bushes are host to dozens of bumble bees at the moment

They are also starting to attract small tortoiseshell butterflies.

Monday, 6 July 2020

Monday Mystery

Last week's close view


didn't cause any problems.
Congratulations to Adrian, the Veg Artist, the Weaver of Grass, Kev, Ellen, Kris, Bettina and Dave who all saw it was


the hands on a clock face. Adrian and Kev also noticed the symbol for radio control.

This may be a little harder


a close view of ..... what?

As always, please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Learning Fast

This young Blue Tit has mastered the art of holding food under its feet:

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Red Bottle Brushes

The Callistemon (bottle brush plant) may be somewhat straggly in growth


but the unusual brilliant red flowers make up for it


Even though it is not a native British plant it attracts a lot of bees.
I wonder what bottle brush honey tastes like.
This coming Autumn I will try to cultivate some cuttings.

Monday, 29 June 2020

Monday Mystery

Last week's close view


turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated. It was part of


a whistling kettle which was correctly identified by Adrian. In fact a camping kettle (the handle folds down to take up less space when not in use) as identified by Kev Scott. Well done to both. Thank you to all who had a go.

I used to have an electric kettle that had an electronic whistle which sounded as the kettle switched off but it developed a leak. I replaced it with another electric one but the water from that always tasted foul. Some chemical in the plastic seemed to be contaminating the water, even after several uses. In the end I went back to using metal whistling kettles to heat up on the gas cooker.

Another close view for this week


Can you identify what it is?
If you would like to have a guess please leave it in the comments.
Any will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday.

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