Category Archives: APRS

Sean Kelly Tour – a different view

And this is it…


What has this got to do with the Sean Kelly Tour? well, the Sean Kelly Tour took place last Sunday (August 30th), and from all accounts it was quite successful with roughly 2700 hardy cyclists taking to the roads.

The above screenshot (covering an area of roughly 900 square kilometers) is taken from the xastir window of my home Ubuntu desktop after I got home from the event. It shows the trails left from the APRS equipment in several vehicles (including some of these, these, one of these and one of these), several objects and a few home stations. As the screenshot is from the end of the day, it is quite confused looking.

AREN was at the event to assist Civil Defence in maintaining an accurate location of as many of the three different sub-events (50k, 100k and 160k) as we could, allowing them to more cleverly deploy their own medical resources around the course. Great use was made of the SEARG APRS digi-peater network, and it definitely (as can be almost seen) proved it’s usefulness on the day, allowing the guys in Net Control Tim, EI2KA and Bernard, EI8FDB (see below) to keep both the the Civil Defence and event organisers updated as to the locations of various items almost in real time, throughout the day.


It was a good days exercise for AREN, and best of all I wasn’t manning Net Control!


Castor and Pollux
I really love this image of Castor and Pollux shortly after being deployed from STS-127.

Both ANDE-2 satellites were successfully launched from STS-127 at 17:23utc July 30th over Texas, USA. Below, in the Youtube movie from OZ9AEC, the deployment starts at 05:13:

I don’t have a particularly effective satellite receive set-up (no steerable aerials, just an omnidirectional vertical aerial) for attempting to monitor these, but now and again, I’m able to receive a telemetry packet. Here is one from today:

1k2: fm POLLUX-1 to CQ via TELEM ctl UI pid=F0(Text) len 100 12:55:47
0000 MEMS 1017126 24.06 23.112 21.09 -1.02 -0.03 0.558 -8.31 -2.63 5.
0040 30 25.54 26.81 26.17 2.60 1 14 52 ..

For some reason, I find it pretty cool to receive something other than TV from a satellite in space, maybe it’s the fact that they have a finite lifetime, who knows, but I still like the picture!

Magic Smoke!

Unfortunately I accidentally released the magic smoke (sorry Scott, didn’t mean to hurt it) from the venerable OT-1 that I was using to measure my PV array (see my earlier post). So I’ve parked that experiment for a while. As we get closer to the solstice, its amazing (to me) to watch the amount of ‘sun hours’ available to the panel decrease. I’ll have to begin negotiations with SWMBO for a better location for them next year.

PV Measurement

I’m still going through the various items in the house, trying to get average usage profiles is quite difficult, so far the biggest hog is the Ubuntu Server I have running under the desk, so I might have to re-visit my choice of machine in the future.

Something I’ve wanted to do ever since I installed the PV Panels was to get some data on them. I’ve started it at least, here (login required) you can see some data. The top graph is the air temperature in the office. The second is the battery bank voltage as seen at the charge controller. The third is not yet connected, but I’m hoping to get a current measurement from the panels as well over the next few days.

The device doing the measurement is an OT1 (discontinued) from Argent Data Systems. The radio is a Yaesu FT-1500M (also discontinued) with a transmit power set to 5 Watts. I had to make a minor modification to the OT1. The potential divider circuit is set-up for measuring up to 15 Volts, I had to change one resistor to allow measurement up to 30Volts.