Weeknotes 13

  • A day in the life of a satellite dish
  • I am ashamed to say, but this silly little gif took a LOT more time and effort than I intended it to.
    It just became one of those rabbit hole time sinks where I just wanted to get it done to see if it was worth the work it was taking.
    No, it wasn’t.

    In short, I tried a few different ways to make the time lapse, and just failed at every turn.
    Gave up in the end and just compressed the time of the video camera recording then used ffmpeg to convert it to a gif.
    Cat at the base of the dish in the morning, cat (different one) along the fence in the evening… They cats like to drink and hunt birds at the fishpond. Don’t get me started.
    I guess the take away from this gif is that the dish really does not move that much, but the tracking is so critical.
    It’s all of a bit of a let down really.

  • Chrome.exe
  • The computer kept crashing – well, to be accurate, Node-RED kept crashing, so we went to the Node-RED forums and they gave me some key words to Google.
    Turns out what I needed in the code was a thing called a ‘try catch’.
    The code tries something, and if it works, fine, if it fails, then the catch catches the fail code and handles it rather than letting wreak havoc on the system.
    Fun and game then with me trying to figure out where to put a try catch in the Puppeteer (headless Chromium), but with a little forum help, we got there.
    So far, Node-RED has been up 3 days straight. Pretty sure that’s a record.
    Can we close the book on this one? Duno. Hope so.
    It would be nice to back to the 3-4 time a month forced Microsoft reboots.

  • NanoVNA
  • I (apparently) am hard to buy Fathers Day presents for.
    So, I bought myself a Vector Network Analyzer. Been wanting one for a while and wish I had pushed the ‘Buy Now’ button a while ago, but eh. Little did I know.
    It arrived on the weekend, so of course, I tested every antenna I have.

    I got the slightly upgraded one with the metal body as it has better shielding and goes to a higher frequency which I needed for my satellite stuff.
    In short, its a sweep transmitter that you can set the upper and lower frequencies for, it sends a very low power continuous carrier over that range and looks for the reflection.
    So you can measure the loss of coax, the length of a cable, the SWR or tuning of an antenna.
    The really cool thing is that its all live… As you touch the antenna, the display is reacting in real time.

    So yeah, I tweaked everything for a better match and sleep much better at night.
    Happy early Fathers Day to me. (Freddy and the kids are thrilled that they don’t have to think of anything to get me… but really, was a NanoVNA that hard to come up with? I mean, come on.. pretty obvious if you ask me).