ABOUT THIS BLOG
Here I'll share some of my ideas, thoughts, opinions, reviews and interesting news.
My like's include photography, website development, 80's and 90's music, watching sci-fi movies, TV series and documentaries.
RaptorZone: Webmaster, System Administrator, Website Developer and Owner.
More about me here.
POSTED ON 2017-03-02
Last night I was fortunate to be in a position to compare the performance of both my EDZ MkII and Cobwebb antenna's on the 11 m Band. An operator from Italy was on-air and propagation conditions were very good with very little QSB, perfect to conduct comparisons.
The broadside of the EDZ MkII is oriented NE to favour the Pacific islands and the US West Coast, whereas Italy is almost directly North from my location. On the EDZ MkII his signal strength was S5/S7 and on the Cobwebb S9/S+5. This shows how perfect the Cobwebb is in filling in the nulls of the EDZ MkII.
EDZ MkII vs Cobwebb Antenna
Both antennas are mounted 11 metres above the ground, have horizontally polarized radiation patterns and similar environments/surroundings making it a reasonably accurate comparison.
POSTED ON 2017-02-28
Construction, installation and testing of my new Extended Double Zeppelin 'Zepp' (EDZ) antenna for the 11 m Band has been completed. I've taken photographs of every step of the construction process have added a EDZ MkII webpage on my website. I refer to it as the EDZ MkII as it's construction is very different to the old one, i.e. wood vs. aluminium mast.
Testing has concluded that the antenna works as well as the old EDZ. Signals sounds louder and cleaner and are at least 5 to 7 S-units stronger compared to that produced by the Cobwebb and Vertical which are both omni-directional and at the same height above ground.
POSTED ON2 017-02-26
Thank you to Ryne X and Mark for getting back to me so soon after I pushed the Afrihost support button. You resolved my problem within a couple of hours and that on a Sunday evening. You guys rock. Thanks again.
I don't regret choosing Afrihost as my Internet Service Provider for a minute. My experience with the ISP has been a pleasure from day one; although it would be great to speak to a System Administrator directly especially when complex, high-priority technical problems need to be resolved.
POSTED ON 2017-02-24
The current HF Band propagation conditions are really poor and my Cobwebb antenna is just not giving me the performance I need. I've decided to build a new Extended Double Zeppelin 'Zepp' (EDZ) antenna for the 11 m Band as it is the best performer by far when comparing it to the other antenna's I designed, built and used over the years, these include: Super J-Pole, J-Pole, Hentenna and of course the Cobwebb. I'll use the Cobwebb to fill-in the EDZ's nulls.
11 m Band Extended Double Zeppelin 'Zepp' (EDZ) antenna centred at 27.500 MHz
This time round I will be constructing the masts using aluminium tubing; in the past the wood masts broke too easily under strong wind conditions. I use one mast in the centre to support the balun and to prevent excessive wire sag and one mast at each end of the EDZ to support the two wire ends of the antenna.
I plan to install the antenna 8 m above my QTH. My previous EDZ was installed at 7 m above the roof and it worked really well, S5/S7 copies with Hawaiian radio operators and S9/S+10 copies with operators on the US west coast were no problem.
Hopefully the antenna will provide better gain and overall performance increase compared to the Cobebb, besides the EDZ works exceedingly well on other bands too; whereas the Cobwebb is band specific and performs very poorly on other bands. Most importantly I want to hear Karol Madera VE7KFM on 14313 kHz clearly, he makes me laugh. The expense of the aluminium tubing is worth it for this reason alone.
I'll be sure to take new photographs every step of the way during the construction process and update the relevant section on my website. I intend to refresh/update the content on the EDZ webpage on mywebsite within the next week or so. The new EDZ is up and running and testing has commenced.
I can report almost everything I hear now sounds louder and cleaner; most signals are higher by at lease 5 S-units. Well worth it!
But then again propagation conditions change and the Cobwebb sometimes works better. That's what makes the hobby so intriguing.
POSTED ON 2017-02-23
Saturday, 7 January 2012, 09:41 PM: It was a warm, cloudy summer evening. It was close to full moon and there was a light breeze in the air. I was outside taking a smoke break. I looked up at the bright moon towards the north. It was then that I noticed an orange orb moving in a straight line slowly across the sky in a southerly direction towards me; emitting no sound as it did so. I noted its light did not flicker or blink on and off. There was no visible smoke and/or floating devices above it. I knew this was odd so I quickly got my camera and started taking photographs. Soon there were two more, all moving in unison. Fifteen (15) minutes later they were gone, suddenly fading into the distant horizon. I stood outside for a while totally confused at what I had just witnessed, went inside and commenced downloading the photographs onto my PC.
Below is the same photograph with zoomed images of the three orbs inserted next to each including the vectors indicating direction of movement, etc.
Orange Orbs Direction Vectors
About an hour later I went outside to check that the garden gates were locked as I was about to hit the hay for the night. It was then that the main event happened. I thought the orange orbs were strange, but above me, slowly moving in a southerly direction was a football field size (100 m in length) crescent shape object, dark grey in colour. I estimate it was about thirty (30) metres above my house and moving forward at a walking pace. It had no lights and emitted no sound. I stood there for a while, scared, yet excited; not sure what to do, i.e. run and hide or try to get its attention. Eventually I did run inside to fetch the camera. Regrettably, when I returned it was nowhere to be seen.
Below is an illustration I drew of the dark grey, crescent object:
Dark Grey Crescent Object
Later I analysed the photographs and the sequence in which they had been taken and came to the following conclusions:
There are two military air force bases in the area so I am familiar with aircraft of all shapes and sizes, these objects were clearly something else. I've never seen anything like it before.
I have zipped all the original, untouched, raw photographs I had taken. You are welcome to download the ZIP file. You will note that they contain the Meta Data of the camera settings, date and time, etc. Understandably there is motion blur due to the fact that I was shaking with a degree of fear and excitement. The photographs that appear to be just black sky do have objects in them, just increase the brightness and contrast accordingly.
Did anyone else in the area at the time see this event? What exactly did I witness? UFO's?
COMMENT POSTED ON 2017-04-22
Orange orbs (enhanced using PhotoZoom Pro 7
I enhanced the photograph of the three orange orb's using PhotoZoom Pro 7 in an attempt to obtain a more detailed view of the objects. I removed noise and JPEG artefacts; I only managed to reduce over-exposure to a limited extent though. The crescent shape objects are however more visible.
Orange Orb (left)
Orange Orb (right)
Orange Orb (top)
Upon further analysis of the original photograph, Dscn2814.jpg contained in the Zip file, I noticed a small red orb located to the middle-left. I also enhanced it using PhotoZoom Pro 7 and the following image was produced. Weird, don't know if it may be an artefact caused by a reflection off the camera lens?
Red Orb (middle-top)
I will continue trying different techniques to enhance the photograph/s; I'll post the results here from time to time.
POSTED ON 2017-02-22 (UPDATED ON 2017-08-15)
I got my hands on Mixcraft and played around with it and in no time re-mixed some tracks to see what it could do. I was very impressed and recommend it to anyone that likes to remix music. It's relatively easy to use.
I like the phasing function, it reminds me of what the DJ's used to do in the 80's. It's also great to record multiple tracks at once, making mixing a breeze.
Take a listen to three tracks I made:
Each track took me about two hours to mix; not studio quality but you get the idea.
It's a great application and an essential addition to your audio tech.
POSTED ON 2017-02-22
A while ago I was looking for some new up-beat music to listen to and can across the ItaloBrothers, a German dance project from Nordhorn, Germany. I'm a fan of Dance Club music from the 80's and 90's and find their music particularly nice to listen to and their music videos are great too.
I like all of their tracks, especially two tracks in particular: "This is Nightlife" and "Welcome to the Dancefloor." Both remind me of the almost forgotten 90's Dance Club music era. "This is Nightlife" reminds me of "Ecuador" by Sash! and "Welcome to the Dancefloor" of "Rhythm Is A Dancer" by Snap!
ItaloBrothers, keep up the good work!
POSTED ON 2017-02-22
When I Initially purchased my car I did not specifically observe that it was fitted with over-sized rims (20 inches each) and stretched tyres. I was more concerned with the condition of the engine, body, chassis, break pads/discs, tyres, electrical system, etc. It was only afterwards when I visited the local Porsche dealership that I found out. The guy almost freaked out when he noticed the wheels.
I must admit I didn't even know that people actually do that to their cars. Unfortunately the original rims and tyres were no longer around and I had no choice but to stay with what I have. Out of concern I started looking into the phenomena and my research concluded that opinions regarding this practice are divided.
Some consider this standard practice, insisting it enhances the aesthetic appeal of their cars, while others consider it unsafe, ugly and impractical. At the time I had no data of my own to form an opinion so I decided to cautiously monitor my cars performance, road holding and fuel consumption.
Here are my findings after driving the car for several months now:
Fuel consumption (2.7 l flat-six):
It does sort of look nice, but it does negatively affect performance, road holding and fuel consumption. Fortunately the tyres have not popped of the rims even while cornering at high speed, driving over bumps, accelerating and decelerating quickly, etc.
I would not recommend this practice and will be replacing the rims and tyres with those specified by the manufacturer as soon as I can. As with everything Porsche, it's a bit pricey. In the meantime I drive with caution, especially observing following distance and required distance to stop.
POSTED ON 2017-02-21
It's been a while since I last heard Karol on 14313 kHz USB. Last night I tuned in and low and behold he was there in all his glory, ranting and raving about Donald Trump, immigrants, Vladimir Putin and other radio amateurs jamming or as he puts it "QRMing" his signal. He went on to challenge radio amateurs listening to respond to his ranting's and raving's, truly living up to his old self.
Karol Madera VE7KFM on 14313 kHz
He also went on to state that two of the radio amateurs that "jammed" his signal in the past have been fined by the FCC, $22 000 and $11 500 respectively and according to him one of these radio amateurs, Brian Crow K3VR, owing $11 500 apparently passed away five days ago seemingly now giving Karol the opportunity to commence his shenanigans again.
If you don't know about Karol and his shenanigans on 14313 kHz USB, also known as the 20 m Band CB channel 19, tune your receiver in and have a listen; you'll be really amused and later shocked at how radio amateurs that participate there behave.
To find out more about Karol and fellow radio amateurs misbehaving on the 20 m Band CB Channel 19 click here, there are many sound bites to listen to here. I wonder whether Karol will play his accordion music again, or even better, the "Dance Monkey Dance" song by Rory Taillon. Go Karol.
On another note, as you probably know we are currently at a 11 year low in solar activity and global HF propagation is very poor to virtually non-existent at times, however on Thursday evening, 16 February 2017 I turned the receiver on and out of curiosity tuned to the 11 m Band. I almost could not believe my ears, the band was totally open and radio operators from North and South America were coming in loud and clear at S7/S9 signal strengths.
Last night the HF band below 15 MHz was also open; following are just a few stations that I do not normally receive very well or at all:
So in spite of the really poor HF propagation conditions there are sporadic openings, just keep your receiver on and don't give up.
COMMENT POSTED ON 2017-03-28
Karol Madera VE7KFM claims Brian Crow K3VR is back and is impersonating Donald Edward Anderson KI1QZX N4TAT
News updates from Karol are “as scarce as a diamond in a goat's a**" (to quote Richard Rawlings). After many days of silence he was back with a vengeance. Late last week I tuned in to 14313 kHz USB and guess who was there, again? Karol was having a chat with a guy going by the name George. As usual Karol was taking out the FCC, obviously using the F-word again. He was also complaining about other radio amateurs that were trying to educate him about radio regulations and proper on-air behaviour.
That's when another radio amateur broke in claiming to be Donny, or better known as "Donald Edward Anderson KI1QZX N4TAT aka Donny Dumbass." Karol then accused this guy of being Brian Crow K3VR, or “K3 Vomit Radio" as Karol calls him, impersonating Donny. In an earlier conversation, a few weeks ago, Karol had suggested that Brian had passed away. According to Karol, Brian, who had lost his license was now role playing other radio amateurs and was doing a really bad job and he suggested Brian go for acting lessons.
Without the EDZ MkII I would not be able to listen to my favourite radio personality. Although at S0/S1 signal strength I could copy Karol clearly. News updates will be few as current HF propagation conditions make it almost impossible to hear Karol every night. What a bummer!
Some History: From what I've personally heard on the radio I can surmise the story all began as a result of Karol incessantly using 14313 kHz USB, which is apparently "reserved" by US radio amateurs as a weather reporting frequency. Also Karol claimed to be a person of importance in the Navy, which some US radio amateurs dispute.
Soon afterwards phrases such as "Canada's Fruit Cake" and "a few french fries short of a happy meal" were being played in a constant loops for extended periods of time. Karol then retaliated by playing accordion music and one song in particular: "Dance Monkey Dance" by Rory Taillon. Much swearing and name calling still continues today.
On another note, last night the 11 m Band was open again and radio operators from all over Europe were coming in at signals reaching S9 and averaging S5 with very little signal fading (QSB). The Global T-Index Map was green with patches of blue all over ... great!
POSTED ON 2017-02-21
The tail end of Cyclone Dineo hit my QTH on Friday 17, February 2017 and snapped my 15 m tall Cobwebb antenna mast in two, what can you do, it was a cyclone after all? Otherwise it stands up to "normal" wind and gusts rather well. I've repaired the damage and the antenna is up and running again; now at 11 m above ground.
POSTED ON 2017-02-21
Here I'll share some of my ideas, thoughts, opinions, reviews and interesting news.
Radio Frequency (RF)