It's Been A While

The last minor update was in January. Before that it was me getting angry at a lot of the ham dev community, specifically the PiStar and MMDVM people.

I’m still pretty pissed off at them. ARRL is imploding. I fixed the HF Rig Status and Logging because I’m back on the air.

And I went to Dayton, again.

So I guess I should say the period of my life from July of 2022 until the start of 2024 wasn’t great. I walked from a pretty abusive work situation, as well as a 20 year career. I had nothing that looked impressive on the job market and was, pretty low. Things went up, things went down. It seemed I was just trading one type of shit for another. I relaunched the blog right as things were very slowly starting to improve. Things were better by summer; but I was still on a roller coaster. November 2023 was me getting fed up. I’m not going to remove my reactions; I will say I may have over-reacted. I’m still not happy with the overall attitude of that community.

Then came 2024. 2024 has been great; the type of great that makes me relook some of my behavior and go “I did not realize how much I’d mentally broken and I’m sorry; apparently I have not been myself for many many years.” But I did evaluate my decisions and; I’d have just done them differently. I’m not happy with the attitudes of a lot of “open projects”.

But, look; the doublet is back up. Or at least an experimental version. I decided to fold the ends over by swapping speaker wire out with some 300ohm. The biggest hurdle has been shooting both lines back over the respective trees. They got taller; and those Daisy B52s aren’t good for the task. I’d spend a lot of time ensuring the line wasn’t tangled, only to have it wind up wrapped around something. I’d also hear a signature “fhbbltppparap” of a misfire that I realized was the bands making the ammo flip around.

Ever since Dayton my sleep schedule has been wonky; with me waking up many hours before my usual 10am rousing. It was natural it would as I spent several days getting up early; but over a week later and I was still getting up just after dawn. So Monday morning I found myself going out there with the slingshot, figuring it would waste 20 minutes of the empty chilly morning. Third time was the charm; or not. Lost it during the pull-over of the rope. The fourth attempt, was better placement anyway. With the sun getting higher I decided to try the second tree later.

That evening, went horrible. I ordered a flat-band wrist rocket and relegated myself to waiting. So of course I woke up Tuesday morning and had a rope in tree #2 by 9am. I didn’t build the antenna. Could have, maybe should have; but the “one thing a day” slow-tactic was working out. When I went to untangle the remains of the old antenna; the center insulator had broken. I also needed to figure out how I was going to mount 300-ohm ribbon. I ultimately just taped the 300-ohm to the remains of the insulator. I wanted to get on the air; I wasn’t sure if this antenna experiment would work. Did I want to spend 8 hours on an antenna, only to find out the idea was bad? No. This is ham. I just did things to make it so I could solder wires together and get them up in the air.

While I should do the proper things and get pulleys up there; I am this time doing things slightly differently. Rather than have a piece of rope going from antenna, in the tree, and down; I used all the stupid amount of excess and just tied the ends together; making one large slightly-unwieldy loop. It’s proven to be very handy for single-person raising, adjusting the final position, guiding it over limbs, and if the antenna tears apart I don’t lose the lines.

Wire is cheap. Paracord is cheap. Getting that paracord over the tree is the pain in the ass. I don’t care if I have to go out and re-attach an end; just as long as I have something to attach it to I can pull back up.

After making a few test QSOs, remembering how to work this behemoth of buttons, and tweaking the antenna system a little more (it’s probably not good to have the rope and the antenna twisted together), I was able to see if my idea emitted harmonics.

Does a 100khz wide segment of less than 1:5:1 on 75m sound good? Because that’s what I got tuned for 3800. Now my bandwidth for every other band went to hell and I’m hoping I can play the feed-line game in the shack to tame it a bit. Now mind you…I haven’t operated on 80m. This is literally for S&P during any contests. I’ve been down there before.

Oh..and Dayton. Hamvention 2024 was year 3 for me; and it has contributed to the upswing that’s been 2024. I had a lot of junk to sell. Literally. Junk. Stuff I should have thrown in a dumpster. Old stereos. Old filthy radio gear. Laserdiscs. I sold pretty much all of my Laserdiscs. I’ve got friends with a block of tailgate spaces. They put tables out, a few items, let us plop all our stuff down and sell it; we hang out, bs, drink beer. I was in the commercial vendors section long enough to get my Yaesu hat and get my ticket laminated. I didn’t make the amount of money I dreamed of; but between initial planning and departure, money became less important. The stuff paid for most of my food and beer; and that’s something. Plus I got to park on the track.

But primarily, I went to see friends; and strengthen some of the friendships that started there.

And the HF Rig Status/Logging repairs; basically I goofed. Last summer I made some major changes to my NAS situation; and it took several months to get everything to a stable state. The HF Status page and my log pages are hosted at my QTH; but they were also stored on the NAS. This allowed me to have log4om just write to a network share and have it automatically show up in nginx. I could have..I don’t know…set a share up on the webserver; but dammit I already have a NAS. That’s what it’s for. I used to exclusively store all web content on a NAS just for backup sake. index.html didn’t exist in the correct folder; so 403 errors.

The HF status still worked, it just lost formatting. It’s actually generated by a script on the server, so it happily kept writing the file to folder the NAS was mounted to. A little tweaking of /etc/fstab and NFS permissions on the other end and everything was back.

Log4OM-UDP sat there, 11 months, quietly waiting for Log4OM to come back, asking about it every minute. When it did; it did exactly what it was supposed to do. I guess it passes the stability test.