Weeknotes 4

* Azimuth tracking
It’s kicking my butt.
More to come, but I am struggling with a few too many variables at once.
Woke up one morning and found it had not moved for a few hours, then started working on its own latter in the day.
Happened on the same thing on the weekend (trouble is, I have to be awake when it happens, and it seems to happen after midnight) so was able to look at a few things by torch light and my guess seems sound.
I suspected that when its cold, the 4 volts I am pushing the motor with are just not enough to get things moving. Once things warm up, they start working.
So, upping the voltage sounds easy right?
Yeah, nah. Because I was working over such a short stroke, the extra volts results in a lot of hunting back and forth as my (crummy) code tries to hit the set-point with a 50 ohm dead-band.
To fix this, I put an arm on the top platter.

This half solved the problem and added 2 more.
The tracking is now way off and seems to have pulled it lopsided.
Since the sat takes 24 hours to do its thing, and since I have to be looking at the signal from the satellite to see where it is (I am simply tuning the dish movement for max signal), I can not think of a way to find each end at sane working hours and just set it up then.
So, I have been getting up at 2:30am to set the bottom and 8pm to set the top.
Its a slow work in progress.

* United Airlines flight UA2781
Showing how all this is oh so worth it, UA2781 made an ’emergency’ landing on Midway Atoll (we believe it was fumes (ie smoke), but reserve the right to change that assumption).
Since our satcom ground station in Cairns that covers that part of the ocean is up and running with both L-Band (ground to aircraft) and C-Band (aircraft to ground) we were able to sit in our armchairs and follow along.
It was a great adventure.
I plan to take a few hours and write up a blog as it was the most powerful yet of how having ACARS and ADSC working together pays off.

* Node-RED and aircraft data
I have had 1-2 people ask about my Node-RED code for the aircraft tracking.
Its been on my mind the best way to share my code, but since its a mess, I have held off.
But this request on Sunday got me thinking, rather than just share the code, the person was asking for guidance – teaching – on how to go about it.
They did not want to be handed a fish, they wanted me to teach them to fish. This appealed greatly to me.
I don’t want to shove my code on someone, I want them to take the ideas and build their own custom aircraft dashboard for their needs and use.
I have no idea what platform I should use for this idea.

* Antenna shootout
Did a quick test of 4 antennas on Sunday.

It was really just about the patch antennas in the front vs the 3D printed helix antennas in the back.
I need to do a blog, but the helix won by a pretty solid margin.

I put a Tweet about it on Twitter and got requests for 3 of them. That makes about 5 I have requests to buy one over the past few weeks I have been testing them.
Might have to get Terry to print me some more….

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