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May 2018
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Fickle weather

I have been a little busy but not too much.   Most of my past week has been playing with radio projects… and dealing with the never ending weather changes…

I got a new digital radio hotspot.  In plain language that is a miniature simplex (or duplex) repeater connection through the internet to other radio repeaters in places that you can’t normally talk to.. It still requires a radio on each end (most of the time) and it is technology stuff.  Anyway I got a new one based on the small Raspberry Pi computer board and a radio “hat” board (Jumbo spot) on that.  I do not understand why they call it a ‘Jumbo Spot’ because it is the smallest of the Hot spots I have seen but that is what it is called.   The one I got in was pre-programmed and “READY” to use… well it was supposed to be ready… It came with all the parts anyway and assembled but it had several issues I had to work out.  1.  the firmware was pretty old.  There had been multiple updates since this board was made.  That meant I had to update that first.  2.  It also had a 4 month old version of the PiStar software running on the pi board.  not too old but I updated that as well since they are always fixing small bugs in the software.  3.  the little OLED screen worked with the top cover off but would not work when I put the cover back on… after several tries , thinking I had some other problem I found that the “assembly” was not as smooth as I had been led to believe.  some of the connection pins into the top board were a bit too long and on close inspection I found that the power pin was shorting out on the top case… glad I caught it early before it burnt up the power unit, or the OLED… I had to snip them down and for safe measure put some tape on the top of them to prevent any further shorting and then… it all worked and the tiny screen came to life and with the software updates it now tells me what the IP address is for it’s connection and shows Call and Name for those on the radio…


As perspective on the size of this radio on wireless connection…


I have also had to update the software and screen on my other Pi based repeater unit.  This one is a duplex unit that works just like the real repeaters and works both DMR digital time slots…


It is about 5 times bigger than the little unit above… but still that screen is only 3.2 inches.. and I usually have I set up to work two digital modes  – DSTAR and DMR… for monitor use anyway.  Anyway that is my hobby in technology stuff to play with the ever changing Ham Radio related toys… Cheaper than if I had a old car to keep running or fix up… I guess? Takes much less space anyway…

Beyond the hobbies we have made a few trips to see GS#1  and #2 in Lakewood, Had #2 stay with us a weekend and we made a trip down to Canon City to have a Green Chili burger from Big Burger World… Strange I can’t find a picture of that burger? We go by and pick it up and then take it to the park on the south side of the river in West canon (very nice park) and have our lunch there, but by the time we get there I am only thinking about eating and not getting a picture of that, I will have to do a better job…  This last trip , while waiting, I caught this young guy hanging on for dear life… that burger was huge and I am not sure which one on the menu it was but am sure it is a couple of meals and maybe a couple thousand calories?


It is dangerously too big and he had to use both hands and slip some fingers under to keep it together…

We also got to visit with my sister and Gary and they also picked up some of the smaller burgers and met us at the park… just a really nice day, nice place to take it in and enjoy…

After we left there we headed on to Florence as I still has some of last years beef stored there in sisters freezer… on the road I spotted the old corner tavern… not sure it really was a tavern but had been looking like one for maybe 40 years but this past winter the roof fell in. 


Yep, been vacant as long as I can remember and they did paint and re-paint several times but guess they never put any effort into fixing the roof… oh well…

So, about the weather… up here on the divide May can be any season you like… and some times it can be that way in one day… last week we got a hail storm came through,


the days before had been warm and figured maybe it was time to get out those flowers.  Then the days after this it warmed up to a point (mid 70’s) that I was running around in shorts and sandals.  Ready to enjoy summer then poof it comes back in and last night it was down to 37 when I looked out… and more hail, then rain… at least no snow like the week before, although this is way better than the 90’s and 90% humidity in Stillwater and not likely to get a big tornado up this close to mountains.  They do happen but aren’t as big as in the Alley…


The days in between the snow, and hail we made a short run up into Douglas county to check out a lake there an just drive around.  the lake is for the residents there and built long and skinny for ski boats… and horses.  But on the way out a small pond up from the lake had this buy work it.


Supposed to be a lot of them in Colorado but I am not sure I had seen one, although maybe I had and just didn’t remember it.


So the weekend was wet, cold and not an outdoor type time, that is why I spent so much on the radio projects.   And it is still wet and cool here – 46 today but maybe it will be in the 60’s tomorrow? We can hope.



Thought for Today: Victor Hugo: I took a speed reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.

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