I Build Things

With Software and Electronics


Some ramblings and smaller thoughts/projects

GB4LHS Special Event Station

Over the weekend, I operated a special event station, GB4LHS to celebrate the London Hackspace reopening in Wembley, and also to demonstrate amateur radio to visitors at the open day. Some things worked really well, other parts of the setup could really have done with improvement. In this post I hope to describe the details of this. Some Statistics Total QSOs: 76 FT8: 68 SSB: 8 By Band: 17m: 20 20m: 20 40m: 36 Countries Worked: 36 Most Contacted: Federal Republic of Germany (13 QSOs) Time between first and last QSO: 23 hours I have actually operated a special event station once before – I organised GB50SWN back in 2007 for JOTA.

Introducing: The Custard Antenna

In a previous post, I loaded up a bowl of custard with an ATU. I called the post “Custard Antenna” however, really, it should probably have been titled “Custard dummy load” – with both antenna wires immersed in the bowl, the custard was no doubt mostly behaving as a resistor, with any pickup or radiation likely to be on the wires – though removing the wires did also prevent it from receiving, which does make me think it might be behaving as a somewhat lossy loop antenna.

Custard Antenna

Some time ago, someone said of their ex-military antenna tuner “it would tune a bowl of custard if you asked it to” – this got me thinking, could I make my MFJ-971 antenna tuner literally tune a bowl of custard? I’ve always been interested in strange antennas, having stumbled upon the K0S Strange Antenna Challenge many years ago. Sadly, the original website no longer seems to be around, however there are still references to it online, such as a post from the organiser, Erik Weaver N0EW, on eham: https://www.

Raspberry Pi Clustering – Part 1

Note: The Pi3 figures in this may be questionable since I have since discovered it was overheating and scaling its clock. A future post will address this. Since I’m interested in real-world performance though, I’m not going to completely discount these results since overheating is a factor to consider! The other day I came up with a slightly daft idea: deploy the website I’m currently developing to a cluster of raspberry pis rather than my usual Linode setup.

Different Types of Film

The cool thing about shooting film is the choices! There are so many films to choose from – some are fairly basic, day-to-day films, some not so much. I have tried quite a few films, so here are some notes on them. There is some overlap with the Amsterdam On Film Cinestill 800T I’m going to start with the most interesting, at least for me. I’ve only actually shot one roll of this, but I enjoyed it enough that I have another couple of rolls ready to go for when I next get a decent opportunity to shoot it.

Amsterdam On Film

Every year, I leave the country for my birthday. I’ve done this for five years in row now, and I have no intention of stopping this trend. This year, I spent 5 days in Amsterdam. Every year, I take more camera gear than is sane and spend a fair amount of the trip taking photos. This year, I included a film camera in this. I haven’t counted, but there’s a strong possibility that I took more photos on film with a 50mm lens than I did with my 24-105mm lens on a DSLR (compare this to my week in Berlin last summer where I took ALL my photos with that lens on a DSLR).

Reasons Why I Shoot Film

This post is the first in a hopefully regular series of posts about film photography. Inspired by a combination of Boredom, YouTube videos, and that nagging feeling I should do something with those rolls of film I put through a Holga a couple of years ago, I’ve been shooting a fair bit of film recently. In fact, I have acquired more than one film camera from eBay recently. Mostly inexpensive, and most recently one not so inexpensive one.

Clean Start

I figured it was time to clean up a bit. So I started a new blog site to replace my old one. I might move the posts over, maybe, one day…