Sunday, April 17, 2016

My open letter on the BPQ32 group page, and general frustration with the HAM community as a whole

I know where stuff like this goes, if you ask 1000 ham radio operators their opinion, you get 1000 different opinions.   I caution you, the reader, as I know many hams are easily offended by rebellious thoughts or new ideas, i give you this chance to not proceed with reading my diatribe. 

Last chance---->

It seems rather strange when we consider that the viability of an operating mode is only as good as the volume/benefit of the mode usage.  Im sure we all agree on this point.

Nobody here can argue that the heyday of packet has long passed. Swallowed up just like dial-up, due to broadband internet connectivity. I realize, this being a ham radio group, half of the folks will be taken back by this highly offensive yet truthful comment. Because packet is not dead!!!, and there are HUNDREDS of people currently engaged in packet (NON APRS) radio communications, that are not specifically tied to some emergency response service.

So whats going on with packet, why aren't folks jumping on a mode that allows for communication and routing to multiple hosts over the same frequency and includes digipeating  onto HF for global communication. What about younger folks, those who might have been a bit too young to remember the heyday? Let me provide some insight that may be beneficial to everyone as a whole.

If 100 hams are interested in packet; truly interested.  As in "Seriously wanted to get engaged'.
(For this I again define packet as 'NOT APRS' which people/vendors refer to as APRS and not packet radio) 

Half will google it to get more info, find low quality, out of date web pages with erroneous information and move on to something else.

A continuing half will attempt to get something like Direwolf going, perhaps even Soundmodem,  maybe make their own din 6 cable as a primary hardware consideration, Find the one packet repeater in their area, discover that its yet another doomsday repeater, reserved for EMCOMM, that never passes anything more than a beacon every 2 minutes, get bored, and move onto something else.

Who ever is left will try to set up some BBS, just to see if they can.  If they manage to download a copy of  fbbs or something to that effect and get it working for a while, they will eventually get bored, because there are no other users to connect from/to and move on. maybe come back in 6 months and try again. Maybe not.

Those couple of people who are still engaged, will eventually come across BPQ32 in their searches, but not really know exactly what it does, only that it has something to do with packet radio and provides a BBS suite. They will find hundreds of websites providing bad, incomplete, or inconsistent information. BBS, being the catchy phrase, because nobody immediately understands what RMS, WINLINK, or flexnet or other acronyms are.

Consider that the main BPQ32 page.   The de-facto page, doesn't REALLY define what it is.......

Eventually that last person will find that the only community in support of information about the project is on a yahoo group. Im that guy.

And yes, while it evident that 100% of the people reading this, use Yahoo groups, email, and perhaps even usenet to collaborate on projects, well , nobody under 50 does that anymore. This is not a BPQ32 problem, this is overall a festering ham radio community problem.

Please note that when I say nobody, i'm referring to the statistical nobody, as in the bottom of the bell curve, not you, the particular person, being the exception, and reading this.

Truth be told, nobody under 50 actually uses email anymore. Not for anything useful, Nobody under 40 spends more than 2 minutes looking at a website with a painful looking background that has spinning globe gifs and annoying associated auto loading music. This also includes web sites that say "latest news" and don't include a date. (this is my age group BTW)

And though it might be unfortunate, nobody under 30 takes anyone seriously who has a web page that looks like a colorful text file and spells out their email address on their web page as a deterrent against spambots. It shows a lack of understanding of technology. Younger people do not want guidance derived from media which demonstrates the lack of understanding of the media used to convey the information they are seeking.   Thats life, accept it.

If you find this inflammatory, you are part of the problem, if you find this enlightening, you may be part of the solution.

Believe me, id love to gather around a group of people and say "Hey you should get into, or back into packet because of BPQ32. We have a large 2m repeater group here in Orlando 147.120  (Me, having a vague understanding of the software which carries a belief that BPQ is actually onto something here)

But then they ask, 'Whats BPQ32?', and I say, well, i really don't know for sure , and the documentation is terrible, but there is a support group on yahoo.

and their response, "Yahoo?.... Seriously?"

Ok, you get my point, i'm starting to rant about general ham radio frustration, this is my stop.

Its a shame,  ultimately ill just give up on this because there will be no traction, just complaining, that's my prediction anyway. Those with their staunch belief that email on yahoo and 100 non-sensical web pages is the best way forward, will congratulate themselves in defending the status quo against this defiant act of subversion.

For the rest of you thinking" he's right, HAM radios presence on the web is REALLY quite awful' well, this was my attempt to help, so  i'll see how many folks join the forum by months end, if the numbers are impressive enough ill reach out to the project owner further.

Carry on, and remember "Rome did not die from without, it died from within"



Tuesday, April 12, 2016

TAPR TNC-1 restoration

Restoration and operation of the TNC-1

The first generation Packet TNC is going back online using the venerable Apple][.     No content yet but some photos in the link here

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Commodore 64 (board REV C) and older 1541 replacement capacitors from Newark (Element 14)

At this point, any electrolytics in the Commodore are suspect.  Since replacement is so cheap, and failure so expensive, Ive compiled a list for Newark (Element 14) for capacitor replacement.

Click here for more info

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Adventures in repair and recalibration of the HP 331A

Here is my information on the repair and calibration of the HP 331A THD analyzer from the 1960's which is now in working condition and on the bench

Link to My post in EEVBLOG

Heres the Movie on Youtube

Friday, November 20, 2015

ST70 Resurrection PART 9

ST70 Resurrection PART 9

The first test of basic distortion displayed, we run some real tunes through it.  Notice the top of the waveform distorts before the bottom.   This will be covered in the next video

See Part 9 here.......

Sunday, November 8, 2015

ST70 Resurrection PART 8

ST70 Resurrection PART 8

Testing of the input signals to the outputs of the 7199's are done showing two outputs exactly 180 degrees out of phase and an injection of an audio signal to display on the oscilloscope

See Part 8 here.......

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

ST70 Resurrection PART 7

ST70 Resurrection PART 7

This chapter deals with the summary of the electrolytics, testing and repair of the PC-3 board and other fun stuff

See Part 7 here.......

Sunday, November 1, 2015

ST70 Resurrection PART 6

ST70 Resurrection PART 6

Revisiting the mistakes from the last video, everything is retested on the PCB and several tubes are selected until a good match is made

See Part 6 here.......

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

ST70 Resurrection PART 5

ST70 Resurrection PART 5

Revisiting the mistakes from the last video, everything is retested on the PCB and several tubes are selected until a good match is made

See Part 5 here.......

Saturday, October 24, 2015

ST70 Resurrection PART 4

ST70 Resurrection PART 4

Here measuments are made of the bias circuit before and after replacing the two 50uf capacitors with higher rated 100uf caps, showing not only more stability but a cleaner DC signal.   Tests are made to the ABCD DC power for the plate voltages but A and B report high due to the missing 7199's to load them down

See Part 4 here.......

ST70 Resurrection PART 3

ST70 Resurrection PART 3

We replace the quad cap which allows us to introduce the rectifier and set up the bias.    We also get some good readings on the RF Choke and do some comparisons between both quad caps.  Final measurements determine that the power transformer is designed for 117VAC

See Part 3 here.......

ST70 Ressurection PART 2

ST70 Resurrection PART 2

Here we explore the power transformer and measure some voltages as the unit is slowly brought up on the VARIAC

See Part 2 here.......

ST70 Resurrection PART 1

ST70 Resurrection PART 1

Here is the amp I'd received from Mike from his brother Pat.  This is an overview of the amp as it arrived with 40 years of dust and other great stuff.  Also initial value collection of components and tube testing

See Part 1 here.......

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hantek 5072P testing videos

All of the Hantek 5072p testing videos are now in one group

See the listing here......

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

1962 Montgomery Ward C cell battery test

After getting the VTVM working, I was asked if it could then be used to test this early 60's C cell battery.   See the video below for the results!!

See the video here

Heathkit VTVM Turn up and test

My VTVM that I needed for work with Tube amps and antique radios arrived in pristine condition.  After an inspection of the device and testing of the tubes, a calibration was done and It works perfectly.

See the video here......

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

First Run of SIO2PC on the Atari 800

Here is a video of my SIO2PC interface running between the Atari 800 and a Laptop running Ubuntu 14.10 64bit.

AspeQT is from SVN version 77 and compiled for AMD64 with QT5

This is an early attempt and the throughput has been greatly increased since the video was taken.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Understanding 6502 assembly on the Commodore 64 - (26) Intro to unsigned mathematics

Its time to talk about math.  Mathematics is naturally an important part to programming and can seem very confusing in machine language.  We have gotten comfortable with computers languages that allow for the easy computation of complex formulas.  It is quickly understood that mathematical routines may take many steps to complete a simple operation.

Click here for Chapter 26

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Commodore 817 has been released

   After much work, the first version of commodore 817 is available for download.  At this stage, testing has been completed.  The test log and status is at the bottom of the page.

   The running main program takes up only 3299 bytes staying within my goal of under 4K.  Other smaller areas of memory deal with Disk/Printer I/O and uncrunching.  This was written in assembly using Relaunch64 and Tass64.  On actual hardware this was testing using the Glink232 on a stock C64 with an MPS-801 printer

The program has been tested with 1541, SD2IEC, NTSC, PAL.   As well as Vice.  See instructions for VICE below

Download D64 image here

Opening screen

The program reiterates the importance of backing up the calibration data of the radio.  The only way to fix it should it become corrupted is to send it back to the factory for recalibration.   

Initial radio calibration check

The program also provides printouts of the calibration for a safe hardcopy

MPS-801 Output

The main screen shows both VFO and memory information currently running on the radio, as well as frequency, band information, CWID tag, tx/rx status, power levels, adjusted power levels, mode and squelch.A graphical Smeter also acts as the radios SWR meter during transmit.

Top menu functions include

VOX                       - ON/OFF
SPLIT TX/RX         - ON/OFF
CW KEYER            - ON OFF
CW ID                   -  ON OFF

Bottom menu functions include:

Change frequency - Also validates input for acceptable ranges and matches band

Toggle Mode - switches between all available modes

Toggle VFO - switches between VFO A/B

Toggle Power - switches between L1, L2, L3 , and High

A=B - copies all information from VFOA to B and matches current band

Charger ON/OFF

HELP -  An included help file

CHECK CAL - A utility that checks the calibration on the radio against the one saved on disk

check cal downloading cal data for testing

 Option to print after testing

 Portion of the Helpfile


Vice requires that true drive emulation be enabled under Drive settings.

Under RS232 settings

Enable ACIA RS232 interface emulation
ACIA device - serial 1
ACIA Base address $DE00
ACIA interrupt - NMI
ACIA emulation mode - SWIFTLINK

SERIAL 1 DEVICE - whatever your serial port is    mine is /dev/ttyUSB0
Baudrate 9600

Under Printer Settings

Enable Printer #4 IEC Device
Driver MPS-803
Output Graphics
Text output device - Printer 1 (file dump)

Print text device 1...    [where to save and the file name]

Save settings


6 FEB 15:
     Fixed an issue where program will hang when loading help or test cal if the button is pressed while squelch is open and radio receiving RF. Disable glink232 and its receive interrupt before loading disk

     Added disable all sprites before loading help or test cal so receive meter doesn't get stuck on the screen. SPENA to 00

Works in VICE on D64 and works on 1541 on c64, there is an unknown problem with SD2IEC.  Doesn't find calibration file nor save calibration file

7 FEB15:
     Fixed Dialogue when cal test fails

     Fixed check for calibration file code. now works with SD2IEC and 1541

     Fixed irq shutdown bit toggle 2 on GLINK232,    shuts just 2 instead of all bits
     Dumped undeeded vector relocation code used before help and check cal

     Added the don't touch radio medal when transferring A to B


8 FEB15:
    Removed extra 2 !! in A=B code