Persistence Pays Off In The End

While not a new country, I have worked Bulgaria on 20 and 15m CW and SSB, this is the first time I have worked them Digital and takes me another step closer to DXCC digital.

This contact was a matter of call a few times, stop, wait, call a few times more. I think he was being crushed by some stronger signal, though it could be that my antenna just sucks. Well, lets just assume that my antenna sucks, because I looked him up on QRZ and he is running a 3 element (looks like a stepir or similar) and I am running a crappy vertical and 30w HAHAHA. Amazed i made it at all.

Moral of the story, be patient and keep trying. You can get there in the end.


10 Metery Doo’s

So i was spinning the dial and seeing what I could hear. Heard some SSB on 10m and while tuning down to the CW part of the band heard a huge commotion on FT8 so opened up the software and made a few contacts. I do not do 10m all that much and its not a band that really interests me, but a few in the log when spinning the dial is ok by me. Better than the painful conversations I was hearing about organic broccoli on 40m.


The Art of Bread


The wife has a turn out on today and my contribution to this affair was to bake my world famous bacon and cheese pull apart. To give you some rough proportions of this monster, its about 400x250x150mm, layers of dough bacon and cheese. Pity i do not get to eat any of it. Its all for the lady conference taking place here HAHAHA.


STM32F401 and PlatformIO

So I am trying to find a new micro to use. Arduino had too many limitations, ESP32 has I2C issues with certain libraries and I just want milk that tastes like real milk. I do not think that it is all that much to ask that your crap just works and does what its meant to. And so here I am trying to find something new that is not all that expensive and kind of just works. I may have found it with the STM32 Blackpill and ST-Link.

Setup in platformIO is just a matter of selecting the right board type and letting the software download the required files and editing the dot ini file to setup certain parameters.

Pretty much all i did here was change the upload protocol to stlink because i have never been able to get dfu to work ever for whatever reason. The other thing I like about using an external programmer is that I get full debugging of the code and i do not have to pull the board in and out of my circuit all the time to program it, or in the case of the arduino’s pulling the IC off the board all the time.

Actually the main thing I am after is the ability to have interupts on any pins I like, not just on the 2 that arduino gives. If the bloody libraries for ESP32 would work right with the SI5351a i would not have had to go down this path. But alas I cant fix it and I am not sure those who are smarter than me can either. Plenty of hacks out there as workarounds, but that just ends up breaking other things I have on the I2C bus. So for now, it looks like I might be going blackpill. And you know what they say, once you go black, you never go back.


Doing It Old School

Back in high school, one of the subjects we had to take in year 8 was technical drawing. I can remember thinking to myself, why am i learning this rubbish, its not something that I am ever going to use. But alas, here we are and I am in need of being able to draw some semi accurate plans on at least A3 paper for some things I have going on at the moment.

Now i know I can do this on a computer using CAD, I have various software already on my computer to do just that very thing and I am competent in using it. However, I have no way of printing them out on A3 paper and scaling them to A4 is not the best option either because its not all that accurate. I need the person reading these plans to be able to measure 1cm on the page and have them translate that into 1m or some other notional measurement.

And so I went looking for a drafting set, i know my kids had them when they were at high school, but it seems they have all been moved on also. Looked online and well, no so cheep. So i figured making one would be the way to go. I have most of the materials here already, it was just a matter of buying a sheet of MDF, buying some set squares and mechanical pencils and making a drafting board and T-Square.

$20 later and an hour of my time and bingo bango boombo we have an A3 drafting set. How accurate is it? Well, its about as accurate and the carpenters speed square that I used to make it and the factory edge of the MDF sheet. In the vertical its a couple of tenths out as you can see from the parallel lines, and in the horizontal, not shown, its about 1mm over 460mm, good enough for the kinds of girls I go out with as they say.

I have enough adjustment in the T-Square to take that difference out, but i do not have a square accurate enough to do that. Carpenters speed squares are not the most accurate of things and I do not have an engineers square. Though I am going to buy one now and then make some other squares to use from it. I have a bunch of aluminum here. All in all, this came out pretty neat and now I just need some A3 paper and I am good to start drafting.