So i found out yesterday day that commenting was not working. Kind of wondered why I had not seen any comments, not even spam comments in a very long time. Turns out one of the addons i use changed things to make people login with fakebook or twitheads.

Anyway, i crushed the rebellion and now commenting should return back to normal and the spammers will be sending me links to medications to make my penis 2 inches longer, grow more hair or have longer lasting erections. Nothing like a bunch of dick jokes for early on christmas morning.


Corrupted Hard Drive

Well that has been a bit of an ordeal. Turns out the server hard driver was on the fritz and I had to get tech support to run some diagnostics and replace it. That was the easy part, because the host I use is great and fix things really fast. That was all done within an hour.

Next came the reinstall everything. That is the not fun part. Reinstall the OS, update it, upload my backups which are 7GB currently and growing run through the restore backups and then fix all the little things that just do not work right afterwards.

You would think that this would be an easy thing, but no, there is always something that does not work. Like changing passwords and reinstalling the SSL certificate. Well lets hope nothing breaks now for a while, i am done with doing server stuff for a long time 🙂

We are back baby!


Amateur Astronomy

A friend of mine Simon, who is also a ham, send me this image he has taken today of the sun, clearly showing 2 sun spots. Pretty damn cool if you ask me that a home gamer can take these kinds of imaged with a telescope in his back yard in suburbia.


Locked Out and Linux Update

So I use some pretty strong security measures on my blog and server, because there is always some script bot trying to gain access to things. So pretty much if you try to login and you are not allowed to, you get IP banned. Well, like an idiot last night, i tried to login and i selected the wrong account name and password, and locked myself out of the blog. So i rage quit and went to bed for the night. Got up this morning, SSH into the server and did some linux foo and allowed myself back in again. HAHAHA

Now, touch wood, since i have installed the proprietary AMD graphic drivers for Radeon cards, I have not had a single crash. PC has been running now for 3 days and it would have typically crashed at least once in that time. So, i think i have fixed the problem and I can now get on with getting things setup and back on track to doing much more productive things.


Projects Version Control

I was listening to The Amp Hour podcast yesterday and the talk was all about hardware revision control from a startup called AllSpice. This got me thinking about all my own projects and how i have them not stored in an efficient and meaningful way.

Currently stuff is all over the place, firmware in one place, ecad in another, datasheets in yet another and other documents strewn all around my documents folder and the internet. My plan here is to bring all the relevant bits together into one place for each individual project.

Each project now has its own directory with the following directory structure. The picture below is for the 50w antenna tuner project. Its the only one i have sorted out enough to have all its bits in one place HEHE.

The Arduino folder contains the firmware for this project, the datasheets folder contains just one datasheet, the one for the relays I used. The point here is to have the datasheet for any new parts that I am using on hand with the project to ensure i do not make footprint mistakes. The documents folder is so i can make notes and will contain files i might have found on the internet etc that inspired the project. The other 3 are just to keep the ecad files all nice and tidy.

So with the directory structure under control and able to suit my needs, the next thing was setting up GIT. Ok, I am not a GIT fanboy, the last time I used a repository in anger was many years ago when i was a programmer for a free online game and then the main game in town was Subversion. Off to learn GIT we go.

This is where things start to become less helpful for you the reader because i am going to gloss over a lot of things here, because so much of this is specific to you, your operating system and who is hosting your git repos.

First thing i did was download and install GIT for windows. Next thing I did was install and configure GIT on my server and setup the repo. I am self hosted and have control over the entire machine, so not much I can tell you what to do here. But for most of you, it would be setup your account on github and make your first repo.

The rest of this is the easy part, on your local machine setup the folder structure you are going to use, put some files in there and open up git. I used git bash because i prefer the unix like command line.

Navigate to the location where your files are located, you can see above for me where things are located. Next we start making git commands.

First initialize the git repo.

Next we add all the files we just moved in there to our repo. I always cheat here and just use the * wildcard to add everything.

Then we commit the changes we have made to the repo. The comments in quotation marks are so you know what you have changed since the last time you committed changes to the repo. Make them as descriptive as you require.

Next we setup an origin, this is more or less just a shortcut to the remote server so you do not have to type out all the time. It just makes things simple and easy.Just use the url to your repo supplied by github here is that is where you are hosting.

Finally we push our changes to the remote servers master branch of our repository. We are then done. From here on out its just a matter of following steps 2 to 5 each time you either make changes or add new files to the repo. I am only using 1 repo for all my various projects and having them hanging off a single directory, but you might like to have separate repos for all your projects.

Depending on how you have your git repos setup, you might also have to use your username and password when pushing changes to the remote server. I have mine setup so only a single user can read and write to the git repository rather than being public.

So that is about it, now i have the unenviable job of spending a bunch of time sorting out my project files into some kind of sanity and then sticking to the system. HAHAHA wish me luck.


Missing In Action?

Naaa I am still here I have just been taking a break and doing other things for a while. There is a lot going on currently and the world is a mess and I have been doing my best to avoid all of it. So what have I been doing? Well, iRacing for one, its a good time sink and an escape from the everyday, plus I used to be a racer all be it bikes, but always wanted to race midget speedcars and well now I can from the safety of my own computer screen.

I really needed a holiday, both from work and from amateur radio and so for the last 3 weeks I really have avoided both. Now i am refreshed and invigorated and its time to get back into some of the things piled up on my bench and then some more. The receiver part of the tranceiver is mostly working now, today i will get it all back together and give it a test this afternoon and I am also working on some code for a WSPR transmitter and i think i have it all working now and just have to design a PA board for it and its ready to rumble.

More to come.


Happy Easter


Chokies and Home Brew. That is the business, LOL. Currently working through some issues on the audio amp. Turns out I removed a DC blocking cap that was essential and had to cut some traces and add in a cap and bodge wire. Got an issue with the volume pot not adjusting volume, but I have a fix for it. And then it is on to adding in the receiver and seeing if it works, and I have some software issue with the real time clock i need to sort out. That is were we are at currently. 🙂


Its Always The Way

I have spent the last month worrying about my business, finances and not dying from The Rona. So yesterday I actually felt motivated enough to start working on a project I have had sitting here for some time. Got enough built where I could start testing things, turn on the PSU and it hooks up straight into current limiting. Hmmm, I have a short. So i go into diagnostic mode and start to deep dive.

It did not take me long to work out what the problem was, the regulator for the 3.3V supply rail used a different pinout than whats on the board. I had assumed that the 3.3v regs i had were all of the L78xx series, but they were not, somehow I had bought LD1117Vxx series which have a different pin out.

The only ones I can get locally in the same footprint are 50ma and I need a couple hundred ma. So i had to order from element 14 and they are god damn hopeless on a good day and do not expect to have parts for a week. I would have ordered from mouser, but i do not have the money to put in an order big enough for free shipping and I just dont need much at the moment.

The joys of home brewing HAHAHA. I now have hay fever like a MOFO and feel like i am dying. So I am going to dope up on phenergan and go to sleep for a few days HAHAHAHA. Too much information?


Im Shutting Down

I will be closing my blog down for sometime. I am soon to be without an income, or a very reduced income for quite sometime, so I am taking this opportunity to make backups of my blog and to hand the server back. I have to do everything I can now to survive and this is certainly a non essential item.

The server will remain up until payment is due and then I will turn it off. I may bring it back up from home off my broadband service, but that would be a rather slow option. Things are what they are, and we all have to do the best we can right now.

Good luck everyone and Gods speed. What i will probably do once i have some normality and get back into homebrewing is do my videos, youtube costs nothing.



Pro Crastination

Pro as in very high skill level of doing nothing but looking busy. HAHA, Well i really should be building the hand held, I have the boards here and its just a matter of assembly and giving them a go. But, for some unknown reason I was digging in my box of arduino crap and came across these 2 modules. The first is an Analog Devices SSM2167 variable compressor and noise gate, the second is Maxim Integrated MAX9814 which is an AGC mic amplifier.

And this got me thinking because after the hand held build the very next thing will be a superhet receiver which will start life as a receiver to mate with the CW transmitter and later will become a ssb transceiver. Part of that build will be a single unified front end board, that has on it a micro controller, in this case its going to be an ESP32, a bunch of peripherals, like keyboard interface, SD Card slot, real time clock, SI5351 PLL Synth, a few push buttons for various radio functions, a couple of LCD screens, rotary encoder etc.

Also on the board will be the entire audio chain, which, when i designed it originally contained an pre amp with agc, select-able ssb or cw active filters and an LM386 AF amplifier because i was not thinking ahead of myself. I have a better AF amp ic that i can be using and it has a shutdown pin, so i can send logic level from the micro and mute the AF amp on transmit. And now, i have these 2 modules.

I can now see using 2 sets of these in an SSB transceiver build. First in the receiver, audio coming out of the product detector is routed into the compressor and noise gate, then into the agc before it is sent off to the audio filters and then to the AF amp. Seeing that I would have quite a bit of gain just in these 2 modules, I would not need to lots of gain from an LM386 and I could then use a much better sounding and higher wattage audio amp.

And then on the transmit side, have the exact same thing, compression, noise limiting and agc on the mic. Lets be honest here, how many home brew transceivers actually incorporate such luxuries as these. Each of these modules is around $5 aud off ebay, the Analog Devices IC i can buy for a couple of bucks and the passives I have, its a TSSOP package and something i can solder, so it is something i can integrate without mounting the module. The Mic AGC is a leadless package and not something i can really deal with at home, well i could, but i really do not want to. So that module will have to be mounted to the board.

People have been saying that 2020 is going to be a very interesting year for home brew, and from the way things look to me, it looks true. From the QSX probably making an appearance to novel items like AGC, compression and noise gates being incorporated, to other unique SDR based receivers like this one over on Circuit Salad things are already looking rather interesting indeed.