Chatting, Coverage and the Cold

The beginning of this week saw the coolest temperatures we've seen yet this year (−2°C) and the pump in my boiler finally stopped working. That's been a bit of a challenge with temperatures low enough for snow throughout the week. I've did two clinic shifts this week, one of which had me coordinating the outdoor (traffic etc.) team. It went reassuringly well.

On Tuesday I had a chat on the local repeater with Kipz M7KPZ. A couple of bottles of cider seems to be a good way to counter that initial repeater fear, and we messed about for a bit on GB3BS. Alan GW1LOR piped up to say hello and to suggest having a go at upper sideband modulation on 144.300MHz to see if that would make it possible, but neither of our regular radios support it. It also turned out that dangling my vertical antenna outside of the window on the end of a mop handle did not yield optimum results. Happily, on Wednesday, Trevor G7PEE and the others (especially Roy G0VFS, Peter M0JVY and Gerry G4SPE) on the regular net of TDARC, a local amateur radio club, helped me out with an antenna installer recommmendation. The net was great, a friendly and welcoming bunch, so I'll be on that again sometime soon. It's also going pretty strong since they appear to be chatting every day at 10:30 UTC. I've contacted the installer to see whether they'd be happy to get my setup working a bit better.

Despite the difficulties with our setups, we had fun, and Mondays at 21:00 UTC are now our regular time to chat on GB3BS. This repeater is situated at a point very conveniently between all of us in Lansdown near Bath, at Avon Fire and Rescue's South West Command Development Centre. Local friends from our IRC server tuned in to what seems to now be called 'Radio Shrek' to hear us yapping too. Our original goal was not to talk about antennas and ladders but this was literally the issue facing us this time. In future chats, for which M7XER will be joining us, we'll try to talk about general hacking topics and other stuff of genuine interest. Friends from further afield are welcome to join us via EchoLink 230964.

Finally, I try to make this blog mostly about my interests outside of work, but during our Friday standup, our CEO's phone went crazy. The reason is that Cadeera, where I've worked for the last three months or so, had been featured on TechCrunch. It's safe to say that we're out of stealth mode now!