Monday, 18 May 2015

Rainwater and Radios


It's been a while but I've finally gotten into some stuff that isn't for work. Recently I have been working on a few projects at work, one of which has involved me learning about setting up Microsoft Access databases with nice interfaces for data input and also for reports being produced.I have also been spending many weekends down at the Tall Ship James Craig where I have been crewing on daysails and helping with other activities.

Yesterday after getting home after a great time aboard I felt the need to do something at home. So I decided to move the water cube that will become a rainwater tank. I have been putting it off for a while because the place I wanted it to go looked like this:
So I cleaned it up, a lot. Then cut out a piece from a pallet I had laying in the yard. As I didn't really have the right tools I cut the skinnier longitudinals with a hatchet and managed to find a bow saw with a slightly loose blade that I used to cut the rest on it as it was too thick to cut by hand. Unfortunately I got so excited while doing this that I forgot to take a picture. So with the base finished and a space cleared all I had to do was shuffle the tank a couple of meters and lift it about 2 feet onto the pallet. This is the finished product:
After getting that finished and everything cleaned away I raked a heap on junk that was lying in the yard up to the back so that hopefully the grass that is starting to grow will be able to continue and cover the entire yard.

Once I had cleaned up and admired what little of the cleanup I could see in the dark. I went inside and while on my laptop, running off 12v. I noticed that my VHF radio was receiving a signal. Upon turning up the volume I realised that it was a WIA broadcast that I was receiving from Mt Bindo. While listening I realised that the broadcast was also being sent on HF so I figured this would be a good chance to have a play around and see if I could get the reception better on different bands. I have decided that for now at least I am going to log these reports here so I have them all in one place and so anybody who wants to can follow along with my attempts to improve reception.

I could receive the signal on my Icom IC-730S only on 80m, all of the other bands were empty as far as I could tell. I am thinking this is largely due to my very poo earthing setup that I'll probably show you in a few days or weeks time. On 80m I could pick up the signal fairly well, but I was having a very hard time understanding the words due to some kind of distortion. Hopefully I will get my desk cleaned up and I can plug in my Yaesu FT-7 that I haven't had a chance to try out yet.

I'll be doing my best as I go through my plans to improve my signal. I already have some ideas to improve my earthing so it shouldn't be too long before I get some information up about that.


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