Thursday, 27 December 2012

I so agree

I am a strong Guardian supporter, especially when Zoe Williams expounded on the state of the Nation, sorry I mean the Government, sorry I mean the Coalition.

1. Burning our future: energy futures are so insecure that they are the only way to steal a march on the rest of the world is to frack our own land to within an inch of habitability, and then sell the gas to, rem, the rest of the world. What's the point of investing in fuel that goes against carbon targets? Why not spend the money on renewables, to the public good?

2. Benefits: has this been rendered unaffordable by twin evils of fraud and worklessness? How can benefits be responsible for a debt that was made from bank bailouts, how can fraud (0.7%!) have made up any dent in it? What have workless generations to do with it, less than 1% of households have two generations that never worked.

3. Housing benefit: is this yesterday's luxury? Do people just have to get used to paying the same money for the same squalid conditions - only with more overcrowding?

4. Education: is this in a crisis, so much that the best way to tackle it is to hand over control to people that know nothing about it, well meaning parents and sponsors?

5. The NHS: is it inefficient (?) and unaffordable (?), and will become inexorably more so as population ages? And the only way to handle that is to outsource it to people who want to profit from it. Why introduce private companies into the NHS when it is clear that outsourcing (old people's homes, waste management, trains, children's homes, asylum-seeker dispersal, Olympic security…) shows that these companies just drive costs up, do not innovate, operate as cabals and constantly look for way to cut wages and maximise profits?

6. Austerity: how can it be that the country's problems can be cured by more austerity, which caused the problem in the first place? Banks just sucked capital out of society, and left us nothing but higher prices, less jobs and big debts.

We are not all screwed! We are being screwed by poor government in favour only of political power and position - votes they call it.

We need to tackle real problems, face to face: housing is an opportunity, tax is just and must be collected, the NHS is the best in the world (or it was…). To govern is not to control a nation of crooks, it is to encourage a nation of honest, industrious people with natural resources coming coming out of our ears.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Give them up!!

You Americans HAVE to give up guns. Not just control them, give them up. Collect all the guns from the people and destroy them...

If not you will continue to be the barbaric nation you are killing 10,000 people every year from gun shot wounds. (The figure in UK is less than 40/year, taking population into account).

What is worse, your sad and stupid culture is spread to the rest of the world, by wars and hHollywood. This too has to stop.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The march of the atheists

The census 2011 for Uk has just been released. Two focus points picked up by news organisations seem to be the number of foreign born people now living in UK, and the drop in the number of people saying they are 'Christian', even if they are not regular church goers.

This last fact has led to a lot of people shouting gout, "well we don't need Chistianity", "UK is no longer a Christian country", " at last people have realised that religion is" … whatever.

But think about it a moment. If it is not for Christianity who defines the morality of the people? Islamic Sharia? The government and its laws? We have to be very, very careful here. Without some form of moral guidance and acceptance of moral principles and instillation of those principles, society can and will become savage. I think it is clear that more and more legislation is today being directed at what are social behaviour problems (ASBOs and the like), but these are also moral problems, "love your neighbour" issues. I am convinced that the church has a tremendous job to do to rebuild its presence in UK society. I hope that the new and dynamic Archbishop of Canterbury realises this and will do something about it.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The interface is the problem

PC's, whether Windows boxes or Macs, are great at stand alone tasks, with some reasonable connectivity to the internet, by ethernet or WiFi.

But try to do anything else and interfacing becomes a problem. What are the options?

1. WiFi. You can use this to connect to another server running in your connected device, and then transfer digital data in a format similar to Ethernet

2. USB. The most used and probably the easiest, but for some uses (like digital audio) there are sync problems and in other uses speed problems.

3. Firewire. Now being phased out on Macs and never really bought on in PCs. Good for high speed links for video and hi end audio

4. Thunderbolt. So new no one is using it! Must be tricky to implement as makers are very slow to implement on displays, video or audio. Most people use a TB to Firewire converter…

5. Internal PCI cards: exclusive to desk tops, most PCs and the Mac Pro.

Probably the best choice among these is WiFi. This is a wonder solution as it is the only one with no wires, a trend that is popular for obvious reasons. But there are problems of latency here also, and mistiming of packets. So who knows what is best. It is a bad compromise today, and a sad fact that no-one has yet solved the universal I/O problem. Personally I morn the end of Firewire.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Antenna tuning network

I am planning to buy an antenna that I can fit in the loft, this cannot be longer than 10m so will be OK from 14MHz up, but will need an ATU for lower bands. I have two SDRs (one receiver on 3.5MHz and one transceiver on 7MHz) so I need to design an ATU to match their 50R output to the antenna.

A simple network for matching different impedances is the 'L' network. Which can be on one of two configurations:


These are just the same, as you can swap IN for OUT! The right hand one is the one to chose if your antenna has a higher impedance than the transceiver 50R output. The values of L and C are calculated like this, ignoring the reactive parts and assuming IN & OUT are resistive:


Here's a table of values calculated in a spreadsheet for f = 3.5 to 28MHz, Rin (Rs) = 50R and Rout (RL) from 100 to 1000R:

ATU L 3 5 18MHz numbers