Saturday, 21 February 2015

Superfast Broadband

The Belkin that put out all that QRM on 145MHz has finally gone
Replaced by this "monstrosity" (as my XYL calls it - BT fixed the boxes to the wall).
The Technicolor TG582N (lower box) is actually an ADSL modem router but one of the ethernet sockets can be used as a WAN connection. It has new firmware on it, with Plusnet FTTC branding.

As the BT modem has to be next to the master socket, I bought a WiFi bridge to connect my wired network to the internet. Before I had the Belkin modem router next to my PC, and a small wired network (D-Link NAS, PC, gigabit switch) plugged into that.

The Edimax CV-7428NS bridge sat on top of my D-Link DNS-320 NAS. It doesn't come with a power supply, just a USB cable, so I've powered it from the front USB port on the NAS.
The bridge has 5 ethernet ports but they are only 100 meg so aren't good enough for a direct connection between PC and NAS. That's what the Zyxel switch is for.

Downloading an Ubuntu iso file, with the WiFi bridge. This was at 8:30am on Sunday. A 1GB file took around 3 minutes to download. The download speed is advertised at 40Mbps but the line is probably able to do a lot faster as you could choose either 40 or 80 (for an extra cost).


Got a brand new Yaesu FT-7900 this week, so I'm back to using a dual band radio at home, replacing the old FT-1500 single bander.

It's quite like my FT-8900 which I use in the car but a few differences:
1)The wide/narrow deviation setting only changes the deviation, not the receive filter.
2)The memory skip and bank settings are unique to each Hyper Memory (the memories themselves are common), so you can select a different set of memories to scan using the HM buttons.
3)The receiver covers 108 - 520MHz with no gaps. Even though sensitivity won't be as good outside the amateur bands, it doesn't drop off as suddenly as the FT-8900.
4)The S-meter is very sensitive on VHF, up to around S5. I get S4 of noise on 145MHz!
Because there is only a single receiver, there is a lot more room to put the controls, so the channel selector and buttons are twice the size of the other Yaesu mobiles.
I've tried uploading the memories to my PC using CHIRP and it works OK, except any airband frequencies are missed, CHIRP just says 'ERROR' for those channels.
I'd been deciding between the FT-7900 and one of the Wouxun quad band mobiles, but in the end I went for the Yaesu. With my FT-8900, I've never really used the 10m and 6m bands as I only have a dual bander on the car and when I used it at home it was with a 6m/2m/70cm antenna only. I can't even remember having a QSO on 6m or 10m with it in the last 10 years. The FT-8900 only receives 28-30MHz too, no transmit or receive on CB channels.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Belkin Router

I use a Belkin F5D8636 N Wireless Modem Router for my internet at home.
This is what 144-146MHz is like with it on (antenna on the chimney, Belkin upstairs)

And this is what it is like with it switched off
The strongest of the carriers is at 144.710, reading 7 out of 10 signals bars on my FT-1500. There is one on 145.500 at 4 bars.
I think it's time to get something new for internet access, and if you see any of these for sale, avoid them. They don't handle large numbers of connections well either, default BitTorrent client settings bring all other traffic to a standstill.

Yesterday, for the first time ever in one of my PCs, I had a hard disk fail. Switched on, Windows error message
but Windows wasn't even booting from or installed on that drive. There was a spinning and then clicking sound repeating itself, so I was sure it wasn't just a missing file.
Anything important had been backed up automatically using CrashPlan, so it wasn't too bad.
The failed drive was a 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11, with a date of 2009. It wasn't new when I got it, it had been in USB case but had stopped working. It was a short circuit across the 12v supply, which was caused by the surge protection diode. After I cut that off the board, it worked OK for the last 2 years.