TalkTalk Withdraws Web Hosting

On the 19th of April I received this e-mail.

We’re closing down TalkTalk Webspace

Dear TalkTalk Customer,
From 16 July 2018 some important changes are happening that will affect the content you have on http://www.g3zjo.talktalk.net.
We’ll no longer offer our Webspace product from that date as we are closing down our Webspace platform. That means if you want your content to remain on the web, you’ll need to move it to a new platform.
We’re sorry that we’ve had to make these changes, and that’s why we’re making the whole process as seamless as possible for you. We’ve arranged a great deal with our friends at Wix. They’re an extremely easy-to-use, reliable and popular web host, and they can host your web content brilliantly.

Yet another kick in the teeth from the web for LOYAL customers, one of the reasons for my choosing TalkTalk was the web hosting. Its part of the package, we pay for it, yet in a sentence in an e-mail they take it away. Oh yes they are sorry.

So they are friends with Wix, and recommend using them. I looked at what TalkTalk had done special for us, NOTHING, you cannot transfer your website you can use Wix toy town schoolboy website builder and have adverts on you pages, no way can they host a Grabber.

Well I have moved my Website and all of my Grabbers, I wasn’t looking forward to it but it wasn’t too difficult a task, I have managed to incorporate my old (interesting) web site which I had left on QSL.net for historic reasons.

I am now here :-

 Website http://www.qsl.net/g3zjo/index.html

VLF Grabber http://www.qsl.net/g3zjo/vlfgrabber.htm

 LF / MF Grabber http://www.qsl.net/g3zjo/lfgrabber.html

HF Grabber http://www.qsl.net/g3zjo/grabber.htm

VHF / UHF Grabber http://www.qsl.net/g3zjo/vhfgrabber.html

QRSS Grabber http://www.qsl.net/g3zjo/qrssgrabber.html

 

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QRSS Grabbers on QSL.net

hf2

Sometimes I run my Grabbers for days on end, often they are off for long periods. A few days ago I was running WSPR and QRSS on 40m just 200mW RF out to my 40m Doublet. I monitored my signal on SpectrumLab and noticed that the updates were not consistent, they were delayed by up to an hour.

The next day G6AVK mentioned he was having problems with his Grabber they were the same symptoms, that night a couple of other stations mentioned the same thing.

I left it a day or so awaiting a correction, nothing changed.  I have contacted qsl,net online support before, some idiot forgot his password the account hadn’t been signed into for years, The response was rapid, a new password from a real person in no time at all.

This time there was no online help subject that applied so I filed a ticket, pretty rapidly I had an e-mail, “You didn’t miss that red box did you” see the red box above.

Well I did mention that FTP upload was touchy, I thought it may be related but that has nothing to do with my problems. I was soon e-mailed by the man with his fingers in the motherboard. I was surprised no one else had reported the problem yet so we started right from scratch on what was being experienced. Cloud caching had been introduced around the time I noticed the problem.

We spent some time devoted to finding a solution, finally it was decided that the Grabbers should have a specific set of file names, (see my notice above) and be treated differently from the normal files which are cached for 1 Hour. Grabber files are cached for 2 minutes now before they time out and have to be refreshed. This means the popular 10 minute window will not age on the cloud and produce a miss timed Capture. Meteor Radar Captures, typically 2 to 3 minute window timings fit the cache period also.

If you have a Grabber with files uploaded to QSL.net and are experiencing problems the procedure is easy to carry out.

Oh Not AGAIN

The web is OK but it can be an awful pain, recently when visiting my sites I and others have been greeted with this.

bucket

I can only apologise and assure you I am working long hours to sort it out. It is happening because Photobucket have decided to charge for hosting which has been free for over a decade, following in the shoes of Dropbox and Sugarsync they are holding old customers to ransom asking for a $ US a day for the service which was free. They also run a Photo print service also printing on Calendars, Canvas, Mugs and Cushions, please don’t use them I won’t now. There is free storage elsewhere so its goodbye to Photobucket once I have moved and re linked hundreds of files.

The Photobucket site is now a nightmare with pop up advertisements that obliterate the files in your folders. They are clearly desperate for income.

One day perhaps there will be too much involved when a service provider decides to change the rules or goes bust and I will be forced to abandon my sites, but I am not beaten yet.

ISS trace on BRAMS Meteor Radar

I have tried to identify the ISS on a few occasions, via BRAMS Meteor radar, choosing close West to East passes. The results were not conclusive on my set up or even BRAMS RX stations. Examination of data from the Hove receiver shows a vertical line in the correct time window and is likely the path of ISS.

Hove3011172029

Conclusion the reflected signal of ISS from BRAMS Radar is quite weak several receiving sites checked show no signal at all, a close pass is needed for identification.

 

In Pursuit of C shape Meteor reflections

Recently G0MQW has been looking at some meteor reflections from the Dourbes Belgium BRAMS transmitter 49.97MHz and found some superb correlation between not only meteor pings on UK 10m QRSS beacons, but also, mini openings on 10m lasting a few minutes, maybe he will write this up. The messages and Captures on the subject will be found in the qrssknights group archive on groups io.

These tests raised a little interest in meteor reflections on qrss knights group. I have been busy outside the shack since my return to the UK in October, I had an urge to take a look at the Leonids showers but resisted the temptation until the weather got too cold for outside stuff. The tests were then enough to get the radios running at G3ZJO.

A question was asked re one capture which showed C shaped traces which resemble the Purlicue shape. Purlicue ? those with a good memory may have noted the name which was the subject of a question on Egg Heads BBC2 TV just yesterday. Non Egg Head fans use Google. I didn’t know it had a name until yesterday. They have previously been named ‘epsilon’ shapes which is often descriptive of them. While we are at it, who says they are C and epsilon shape ? The observed shapes are the result of the convention we use to observe them, with a horizontal Time scale and vertical Frequency scale. View them with horizontal Frequency scale and vertical Time and they become U and W shapes.

The question was :-

Who knows how this happens ?

I replied :- Yes who could ever explain exactly what is going on … I like to listen to the audio and watch the display being built up in 3D.

Today I captured a nice ‘epsilon’ like display on 49.97MHz, not too strong a signal but fine for examining and thinking about what are the possibilities for the cause of the effect. So first let us take a look at my 3 Captures of the same event.

First a fairly fast scroll capture.

2epsilon_2411_1117

Next a slow scroll.

2epsilon_2411_1117_slow

The signal was not strong enough to produce much colour on the peaks but some yellow spots can be seen, this indicates that this trace is over dense and we are looking at the plasma tube of the trail.

The capture also shows several other meteor trails, there were many this morning all receding rather than approaching BRAMS, I calculated the speeds of a couple and they were at terminal velocity.

Next Capture is in 3D.

brams_2411_1117

This capture scrolls in time, into the past, from bottom left to top right. The high end of the frequency scale is in the bottom right which corresponds to the top right of the 2D displays. Scrolling right like this allows us to peer into the Purlicules at 1486Hz and 1483Hz on the frequency scale. There is no doubt about their smooth curved shape like architectural alcoves or an amphitheatre or even an audio radar reflector wall used to detect the sound of approaching aircraft in WWII.

I drew some sketches of a meteorite passing in the atmosphere over Dourbes with a long  plasma tube expanding and dispersing as time goes by. I also plotted spot locations on the time axis of the two C shapes which make an ‘epsilon’, the top stroke of the highest frequency C appears to be drifting slowly HF the bottom stroke slowly LF,  likewise the top of the lower C shows +ve Doppler and the bottom stroke -ve Doppler, (LF) all at same time. I calculated that the complete two C’s ‘epsilon’ shape was moving LF at 161 km h. This measurement is liable to some variations due to the use of bi static radar but it is useful to place object reflections in the right ball park. There are five different Doppler shifts taking place at the same time.

It is often conjectured that these curves are produced by wind shear, I could never understand how the graphic representations shown, or the idea of thinking of shining a torch at a broken mirror could produce elegant curves, hence my 3D captures, sketches and plots today.

Surely the walls of the plasma tube I had sketched would be a prime suspect for the phenomena, bent by wind shear would they reflect and display as C and ‘epsilon’ shapes.

Edit 21 December 2017

The full explanation of just how C and ‘epsilon’ shapes are formed still eluded me and I decided to contact Peter Matinez G3PLX. I was aware that he produced a meteor Doppler simulator, actually in the 1980’s, he modified it for my use to reproduce Doppler from helicopter blades more recently. Unfortunately his Meteor simulator was lost on an old DOS computer he explained, however he outlined that he uses a single line point reflector method to model trails and he had an idea for a new simulator, soon this was in my hands.

Can we produce a C or U shape (they are the same, it depends how you view them) reflection using a mathematical simulation.

Below. A U or C shape generated by the G3PLX meteor ping simulator displayed by Spectrumlab using typical meteor capture settings.

u_sim1

Below. The simulator is set to start with a slightly off vertical trace. The output is a 1500Hz tone and the trace representing the meteor trail. The Meteor Radar transmitter and the Receiver are to the right of the simulator, no signal is reflected due to the tilt.

sim_notvert

Below. When the trace is vertical the signal is reflected.

sim_vert

Below. The bending of the trail by a wind shear layer is sinusoidal pushing the top of the trail to the right +ve Doppler, the bottom to the left -ve Doppler, the centre remains stationary. As the trail rotates, the centre passes through vertical then two reflecting regions one above and one below develop and reflect the signal.

sim_curve

Below. Can we now simulate a W or ‘epsilon’ shape. All we need is to add 3rd harmonic sine shape to the curve.

sim_3rd_order

Below. The simulator set to introduce a 3rd-order curve, W / ‘epsilon’ output displayed by SpectrumLab.

w_sim1

Below. ‘epsilon’ and C curves displayed one after the other by SBSpectrum.

ce_sim

Many thanks to Peter Martinez G3PLX for sharing his knowledge and skills on this subject.

 

G3ZJO Grabbers are Updated

The web is so useful but can also be a nightmare. Service providers give us a useful (App) I don’t like that term but I will use it, then they notify us of ‘improvements’ in their service and terms and conditions. “Oh and by the way it’s no longer free” / “We are withdrawing the exact thing you use the system for on the 15th of March”.

The last message was the gist of what Dropbox are doing, I have used Dropbox exclusively for my Grabbers. When the Public Folder I have used for years goes Private my Grabs would no longer be displayed, all a visitor would see is a link with an invitation to download the Grab and you have to be a Dropbox user to do it.

I have the html for my QRSS Grabber running on Dropbox, after 15th March this will not be allowed either.

Thankfully I don’t link any photo’s in my blogs to Dropbox, that would be a pain to sort out, SugarSync did that one to me, it took ages to sort out. All I needed to do with my Grabbers was to use FTP upload for the Grabs, hang on my ISP does not allow FTP uploads.

Then I thought of QSL.net I have a dormant web site and e-mail address with them. I couldn’t remember my password and the e-mail address I used with the account years ago was @clara.net so I couldn’t organise a ‘change password’. The ‘Help’ page was very helpful, unusual I find, of course I couldn’t use the self-help so I send a help request explaining the situation. Wow, I had a reply, same day, with all the required information for me to get going again.

Some users have said goodbye to Dropbox completely. I decided to exploit it by using folders for my Grabs and uploading from those to QSL.net, I am going to have the full set of Grabbers available there. The original Grabbers can link to the stored Folders there. Using Dropbox I can see the folders on the shack computer from anywhere and very simply take Captures for mailing lists etc. Like this one taken at this moment from my VLF 8.2kHz monitor. The two lines at 8270.05Hz are two transmissions from DK7FC  nearly 750kM away.

vlf1

My old Website is on QSL.net. I have been a little embarrassed about it, I used nested Frames at the time, these days it is advised not to use frames on your websites because it may not display properly, it doesn’t, you see lines at all the boundaries to the frames. I was going to renovate it or scrap it one day, but when I looked at it  found it interesting. Back then you didn’t have video on a website, I have several home-made animations, one in ‘high’, well higher, definition, I talk about 5 mins download time for that. So this old site is going to stay as a historical relic.

My Antique Web Site :- G3ZJO qsl.net

My Gabbers – Site 1 :-  VLF GrabberLF Grabber  – HF GrabberVHF/UHF Grabber

Site 2 :- VLF GrabberQRSS Grabber

In time I will duplicate all Grabbers in case of outages or “improvements” in terms and conditions.

ZEVS 82Hz is Off Air

Someone the other side of the world asked on a group if the ZEVS 82Hz transmission was still active, thinking there would be a flood of replies I left it to the others. After a couple of days it seemed everyone else was doing the same, so I fired up my VLF set up and took a look, a carrier of the usual strength was there. Its operational I replied.

There were some queries, ZEVS shows on G3ZJO’s Grabber from June 2016 but not elsewhere. I looked again live there was the line, on frequency. I then thought back to June 2016 when the Capture was left on screen. I went over to Windows7 at that time because K1JT’s latest WSJTX was not just crashing and failing to upload but locking up XP totally every time it was shut down. Naturally I did a test of the VLF set up on Win7 all looked normal. The Grabber screen had recorded the results.

This is what the capture looks like now (no carrier at 82Hz)

zevs_off

I investigated the line at 82Hz it was so convincing as the ZEVS carrier it showed changes as if from propagation, but there was no usual DATA ever, there were tones of several seconds length at times which I suspected coud be a new keying scheme. I went back to Windows XP the phantom ZEVS was not present.

So it seems my sound card when used on Win7 produces a weak carrier, where, bang on 82Hz. Cunningly produced to mislead the world.

From some research it seems that although there are Win7 drivers for the Delta44 sound card it will never perform correctly on Win7 and up. Increasingly software won’t work on XP anymore, so another expensive piece of kit bites the dust.