If you are grab some fish and custard and sit back.
Now go clean yourself up.
0 May 20, 2013 at 8:59pm by Ragnar
If you are grab some fish and custard and sit back.
0 May 13, 2013 at 4:09pm by Ragnar
Lets just file this under “We are the ancients”
0 April 18, 2013 at 4:15pm by Ragnar
The rumors appeared to be true. Another well known HF pirate has fallen. I wont go into the particulars of the recent FCC action, although the NOUO does give most of the information. The chilling effect upon the hobby by this action will probably be only matched by our own destructive nature. I fear the unsubstantiated rumors and innuendo that will follow.
But I write today not to bemoan the current situation or its aftermath. It has however, caused me to consider the recent apparent flurry of activity by the FCC against HF free radio stations. I say ‘apparent’ because it seems that in the last few years there has been an uptick in enforcement actions, but this perception may just be due to our proximity. So I thought some hard data would be helpful in accessing the FCC attention to the hobby.
John Anderson of DIYmedia has been curating a database of all FCC enforcement actions against pirate radio stations since 1997. I have sifted through this database for all references of stations operating above the broadcast band. I further refined the data to eliminate multiple actions for a single bust. This has provided a simple chart of shortwave pirates “knocks” per year in the recent past.
The data behind this chart can be accessed Here. Let me know if I have missed any actions, I’ll add it to the database.
So what can we assume from the chart? Well there was certainly a lack of enforcement in the early part of the last decade. Actually only one action occurred for the entire 2000’s. Since 2010 there seems to be a sustained enforcement activities by the FCC. Over the next couple years it will be interesting to see if this trend continues.
For an overview of FCC enforcement against pirate radio throughout the spectrum, including AM and FM broadcast bands I highly suggest looking at John’s enforcement page on DIYmedia.
0 April 6, 2013 at 5:05pm by Ragnar
A few weeks ago I purchased a Net SDR from RF Space. I have to say that I love it. Its just a black box that resides in my basement but it has revitalized shortwave listening for me. This is the fist true SDR I have used, It dose not even compare to the Icom PCR1000. The main drawback, for me, of the ICOM was its inability to handle the signal input of a large dipole. With a 40m dipole hooked to the ICOM there was ghost images everywhere bleeding into the band which forced the use of attenuation at all times. This significantly impacted the rigs ability to DX faint signals. The NetSDR has no such issues. The other aspect of the SDR-Radio unit is its ability to operate with just a network connection. No server (or corresponding computer) required. It was simple to set up, just plug in an Ethernet line from the router and hit the power button. That’s all there was. Simple. Efficient. Brilliant.
As with all software defined radios the software that you use to connect to them is the primary determining factor of your listening experience. In the last few weeks I have used three different programs to run the NetSDR. I should state that I am using Windows exclusively in several varieties, (WinXP, Win7 and Win8). The programs I have been using to access the NetSDR has been Cute SDR, SdrDX and SDR-Radio.
Cute SDR is a lightweight, open source project available at sourceforge. Being a small, no frills program that it is, it uses very little program resources and is great for older, less powerful machines. It is very intuitive and within seconds even a novice SDR user will be able to navigate the bands and use the waterfall display. The program instantly found the SDR on the network and connected to it. However, the bare bones nature of the program is both its appeal and its limitation. Frankly it’s to bare bones for me to use on a daily basis. It lacks station presets, and the modulation selection is a pop window and not part of the main display. Two functions that limits its useability.
The second program I have been using is SdrDX . This program is a fully functioning radio software program based off the CuteSDR engine. Primarily designed for the MAC user, a windows distro is available. It has all the functionality you would want in a radio control program. It has some customizable features (such as a S meter readout in Klingon) but much of the controls are static. The control layout is not very intuitive and the user is unable to move the controls to meet their individual needs. It is however, a giant step forward from the CuteSDR it was based on. Many of the controls I am unfamiliar with, or more to the point not in need of. It would be nice to have the ability to customize the interface to remove these controls, or at least place the controls I do use more often in a more prominent location. It has the ability to record off air, but again the controls are limited and no option for MP3 or even file name customization. Overall its a useable program, and falls nicely in the sweet spot between bare bones and overkill.
Lastly I tried SDR-Radio. This is the proprietary program from the manufacturer RF-Space. By far this is the Cadillac of the three programs I tested. It is a fully useable, fully customizable interface specifically designed for the family of SDR radios including the NetSDR. The user has the ability to customize what controls are shown on the docked toolbar and has recording ability to record as a MP3 with user defined file names. However there are a few draw backs. Primarily the need of computer on the network to run a server for the software. It should be mentioned that this software is intended to be used to connect to and make your radio available on the SDR-Radio site which hosts many radios available to the public. However one dose not need to use this functionality and may just use it across your home network, or make it available to a group of individuals who know the IP. In fact this is what I have done and you can access my NetSDR on a limited basis via The GULCH. The SDR-Radio is the only one that allows for connection via a web address as opposed to a IP and also has the ability to be password controlled. Both functions I like for opening up my radio for the public. For more on why I didn’t just place my radio on the SDR-Radio servers see my previous post. Over all though the SDR-Radio program, as great as it is, tends not to be the program I find myself using. Due to a bit of system lag, (perhaps from the low end server computer I’m running) or perhaps from the size of the program and its use of system resources, I find myself gravitating to the SdrDX for daily use.
So that’s the round up. Cute SDR is fast, easy and great for a novice, SDR-Radio is full functioned but resource intensive. SdrDX occupies the middle ground, lightweight but not fully customizable. I hope you stop by thegulch.webhop.net and see if you can connect to my NetSDR sometime and try it for yourself.
0 March 28, 2013 at 4:22pm by Ragnar
Dear God have I slid so far down the political left path that I am actually beginning to agree with Bernie Sanders?
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. now says the Justice Department may not pursue criminal cases against big banks because filing charges could “have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.”
“In other words,” Sanders said, “we have a situation now where Wall Street banks are not only too big to fail, they are too big to jail. That is unacceptable and that has got to change because America is based on a system of law and justice.”
“If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist,” Sanders said. “No single financial institution should be so large that its failure would cause catastrophic risk to millions of American jobs or to our nation’s economic wellbeing. No single financial institution should have holdings so extensive that its failure could send the world economy into crisis,” Sanders said. “We need to break up these institutions because they have done of the tremendous damage they have done to our economy.”
0 March 11, 2013 at 4:41pm by Ragnar
Several years ago I finally broke down and bought a single universal remote to rule them all.
It served me well for many years but after multiple drunken fumbles resulting in the inevitable sudden deceleration with a hardwood floor the magic smoke was released. Or at least there may have been magic smoke hanging around the living room when the thing died. heh.
So its time for an upgrade. I settled on the Logitech Harmony 650. Back lit keys, LCD screen, computer programmed this should be a nicely satisfying upgrade.
I wonder how many times I can drop this one until the next upgrade?
0 March 3, 2013 at 9:06pm by Ragnar
Governor cupcake i.e. Jenny on the block, the former Governor of Michigan recently gave a TED talk. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, at the very least she showed an enthusiasm rarely seen by the political class. She had an interesting idea too, although in all probability it will be strenuously ignored by any who could enact such a plan. But it was good to see the Hollywood hopeful once again take the stage, she seems so eager in her idealism and reveled in the bask of the limelight.
0 February 10, 2013 at 7:45pm by Ragnar
OK that got your attention. For the last year or so I have been hanging out on Reddit. The front page always has the news items several hours ahead of the normal news outlets. I will also admit to several other subreddits I enjoy such as FFFFFUUUUU. I have also heard <cough> there may be porn on Reddit. In fact I recent stumbled across a thread of redditors favorite porn subreddits. Most of the links I was afraid to follow, and believe me I’m no prude. But I did find one I’m uh, strangely attracted to. (No not in a sexual way, you freak)
I give you- avocados gone wild !
Seriously, the titles on the page are the best part. If you have ever “stumbled across the “girls gone wild” subreddit (no I’m not going to link to it you sick bastard) Then you will really understand whats going on here.
Yes, they have Sexy Sexy Avocados doing all kinds of naughty things.
Yeah, I have an odd sense of humor. But this may be the best thing I’ve found on the internet this week.
0 January 20, 2013 at 4:53pm by Ragnar
Yep, another sporadic blog post keeping true to the blog’s title.
I’ve been thinking about streaming on line radio again. Most of you know of my streaming station The Gulch. Its been streaming my primary pirate listening radio for almost ten years now. First it was the Drake SW8, now its the ICOM PCR1000. Now I am dreaming of a shiny new SDR. More specifically the NetSDR from RF Space. This definitely would be an upgrade with the corresponding price tag. The base models run around $1500. But it would allow me to remove a computer from the home network, specifically the oldest and most power consuming box in the matrix. (egad is it really still running Win2000??) I hope that I can add this to my burgeoning radio toy list later this year. But as with most major discretionary purchases, one is never sure where the line between planning and window shopping actually lies.
This new direction of the radio day dreams was kicked off after playing with the glSDR app for my cheap android tablet I picked up last year. I was alerted to the app after hearing that Corg picked up a SDRiq. The app allowed me to see (and sometimes control) her radio, see the waterfall and tune around the various bands listening to many different stations. That was a lot of fun and the app had several different radios from around the globe to choose from.
This brings us to the crux of the issue. glSDR like many other like apps and sites such as the widely used Global Tuners, have one serious flaw for my particular use. I am, primarily, a pirate radio listener. If you are reading this, you probably are too. Admittedly we are an odd bunch listening to a sub-sub genre of the odd hobby of radio listening. As such I always felt a bit uneasy going into Global Tuners to take control of someone’s radio to tune over to 6925 to see if there was any bit of signal in the noise. I guess that was why I was so excited to see Corq’s rig go up on glSDR. I knew that she was a pirate listener and wouldn’t mind if I strayed into the more seedier section of the radio spectrum. This unease I felt on Global Tuners was what I have been trying to alleviate for others with The Gulch. A place where you can tune around the pirate bands and it would not only be tolerated, but expected. But for those who have experimented with the gulch, in any of its iterations, know that it has its limitations. From audio lag to control software, the Gulch had its issues.
This brings us to the dream. Yes, as Mr. King so eloquently pronounced fifty years ago; I have a dream. A dream of our own pirate radio web site where eye patched DXers can gather and operate the multitude of online radios that seem to be propagating within our community. A collection of SDRs and streaming radios owned by pirate radio enthusiasts gathered together in one place. A place where the default frequency is a patch of out of band static. I may not live to see this promise land (god knows I’m not going to build it) but its my dream none the less. Until that day The Gulch will still be plugging along. Perhaps it will be upgraded to a SDR. Perhaps it will be web controlled with an audio stream without lag. But I will still dream of others joining me in the promise land.