Thursday, May 14, 2015


in the grit and sunbaked red
you can imagine moonscapes,
endless hot dry emptiness

but the ants commute even on this hot sand
lizards patrol their freeways with quick tongues

improbable silvergrey leaves stand isolated
sand and sticks collecting under the windward edge of any plant.

at dusk the restless kangaroos cross the landscape
in the evenings there are yowls of dingoes
dense clouds of insects orbit the lights
dawn is patterned with tracks

and if it rains
a magician's bouquet
life explodes, instant spring packetmix
just add water.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015


an eternally urgent offer,
to match your fancy and quench your envy
setting a trap for your immediate attention.

a market to engage you
with the unlikely imagery of a commercial imagination
seeding questions and farming responses,

enhance your success, open your purse,
quench your need with our original, natural, blue pill
clinching a sale, a steal! closing a deal.

trusted partners reach into your address book,
praying for support, preying on conscience
any answer is bound to please.

just sometimes,
a paragraph of detractor text, ragged pieces
from vintage novels, snuppets of wholesome language,
a block of literary noise to confuse the filters
these hold unexpected charm.


tissue of soft dust
despite eternal sweeping
chaos replenished

a fragrant creeper
behind the red dahlia
stealing attention

bees searching pinwheels,
eyes with yellow lashes,
flowering gum tree

squeezed by distance
fence posts diminish, shadows
contrast, long and sharp

finely inked tattoos
spill piquant winding stories

cheap creamy cotton
striped with afternoon sunlight
warming my window

a dream of travel
not quenching my restlessness
just honing its point


cracked earth and dry thistles
the swamp is still thirsty

an ibis steps formally
her beak curves, deep
into the crevasses

the egret too is walking,
soft bluegrey elegance
collecting caterpillars
as they taste their green hosts

in the garden a storm
of butterflies rises,
matching her slate colours,
but no longer hungry

Monday, May 04, 2015


we walk to the river to collect buckets of leaf litter for the garden.
a gradual taming of the red earth for zucchinis and beans.

she keeps close to my side
a honey coloured dark eyed shadow

we share the quiet society of insects, lizards and garden life
until evening when he returns.

catching the sun

on the edge of the porch they stand
close, like people huddled on a train platform
hailing the morning sun with relief and green vitality
a small distance above the chill
night air still lurks in the shadows
finding the lowest ground with the lowest temperature
not quite frozen this time.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

march 15

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

AHARS Symposium September 19

Event; AHARS Symposium

Topics; Amateur radio, Construction

Speakers; Drew Diamond VK3XU, Phil Harman VK6APH and more

Venue; Belair Community Centre, Corner of Sheoak Road and Burnell Drive, Belair

Cost; $20 at the door for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.

Date; 19 September, 2010

Time; 930am - 5pm

Monday, January 04, 2010


Kim has been tinkering with analog electronic music. Over the Christmas break he has put together an 8 step rotary sequencer and atari punk console.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Horse trading

On Fri, May 1, 2009 at 9:52 AM, Jeffrey A. Williams
<> wrote:
> Jeremy and all,

> Americans interests in this instance
> should come first but in a fair way
> with our Trading partners around the world.


It seems fraught to me to have an issue like copyright horse traded.

It has become clear through the previous discussions that the DMCA, especially in regards to DRM/TPM, runs at odds to civil rights and accessibility. Incongruent law is generated because the trade process sidesteps or bulldozes public interests.

Since the printing press copyright has been used as a means to find a balance between the social function of information, our peace with our possessions, and the business of making and distributing ideas.

We now use methods of publishing and distribution which do match the printing press' single point of investment model. We could do with rethinking the social/business balance around ways to multiple points of contribution and where publishing is trivial, and creation is living and participatory.

A single point of value with a distributed social cost is no longer a good value mapping for the ways that we can express information.

A trade negotiation is not a suitable context for negotiating that kind of civil infrastructure. The public interest is not effectively represented in the mechanics of trades processes. It leads to the kind of gaming and hypocrisy which Consumers International have pointed out.

Repeal of DMCA would be a useful first step.
The crucial aspects of the social functions of information need to be able to flow in the interests of world health, ecology, community. Our means for valuing innovation should not effect obstacles to world health, our means for innovating with agriculture should not cause risk to ecologies or encourage the development of nonviable species for commercial interest. As a species we need to look at our methods for valuing to see if they are responsible to our biodiverse context, as a community of people we need to value in ways which do not cause inhumanity.

A tragedy of the commons is a choice, it is a prisoner's dilemma kind of choice. There is no tragedy in contexts where the participants choose to act for the common good.

If our systems for generating law are engineered through trade processes the underlying precepts are grounded in individual advantage. If they are developed in piecemeal increments with global agreements we get a uniform obfuscated law because the process is only practical in small pieces at a global scale. The result is that copyright is not a comprehensible model of valuing for public use.

If a child cannot confidently wield the fabric of their cultural context because it is damn near impossible to figure out what is legal and what is not then the method for valuing is costing society both in the right to participate for new generations, and in their ability to see legal frameworks as viable and reasonable systems. ie It erodes lawfulness to have incomprehensible law which results in more people choosing for their own interests rather than any common good.

DMCA is a problem. DRM/TPM technologies are not a workable solution to a social question.

If we did not have the Statute of Anne heritage, and we were looking at our current means of production/distribution and social function with information what kinds of models for valuing could we make? How would we ensure that they always kept strong ecological and humanist values and also helped value to accrue to effort and investment?

[Janet XYL]

Consumers International: Call for end to USA hypocrisy on Fair Use

Global copyright watch list reveals US hypocrisy and how out-of-date legislation is damaging consumer interests

Jeremy Malcolm, CI IP Programme Coordinator says:

“Fair use in US copyright law has contributed an estimated $4.5 trillion to the US economy, by allowing the use of copyrighted material by educational institutions, Internet innovators, and sellers of devices like the iPod and TiVo. Yet the US government is actively stopping other countries from having the same opportunities. CI wants to see an end to this hypocrisy.”

[Janet XYL]

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Comments on proposed WIPO treaty to permit blind users to circumvent DRM

(Janet: ianal)

This post is a summary of my thoughts on a thread in the Access to Knowledge email list. The A2K is generally an announce flavoured list but this particular issue has generated some dialogue.

The initial post is titled:
[A2k] DRM and the World Blind Union's Proposed Treaty for Reading Disabled Persons
There are some title changes through the discussion.

The following is a post I contributed:



OK so if we have a blind person and a DRM media item
to effect access we need:
  • a copyright law which includes a useful limitation and exception for the intended use and user
  • a treaty which permits circumvention of the DRM for that type of user and use
In Australia it is illegal to circumvent a TPM, it is also a felony to develop tools which do so or to distribute those tools. If the blind user is not able to engineer circumvention themselves, we would also need:
  • the right to delegate that exemption to a possibly sighted engineer/organisation
  • the right to delegate the permission to develop a tool/means of circumvention to a possibly sighted engineer organisation
  • the right to delegate a permission to distribute or share the tool and/or the resulting accessible media back to the user.
  • there may be cost issues associated with sourcing this kind of expertise which might be difficult to afford for individual users and so it is likely that some wider sharing of either the media or the tools would still be needed to make the material accessible in a cost effective and a timely manner.
If we have users who are deaf, who use a mouthstick, or who work with other kinds of accessibility issues then each of those groups would need to be able to source engineering and distribution to suit the kinds of issues they face with the media which are of issue to them.
[snipped a bit about education and library uses]
  • What kind of approach should be taken to make it possible for these acts of engineering, distribution and use to occur on behalf of the blind user by a third party?
  • Similar question for engineering, distribution on behalf of other accessibility purposes.
  • Similar question for engineering, distribution on behalf of education, library, health and other civic uses which could easily impact a blind user as well.
I guess I am concerned that this feels like a legal Barrier Reef.

In Australia there are existing laws about providing goods and services in an accessible manner. A user successfully sued the Olympic Games for a website which did not make it possible to purchase tickets in an accessible manner.
Is it possible to use that kind of approach to ensure that media is provided in an accessible way and that circumvention and distribution for any legal use or on behalf of users who require access to means of circumvention is a safe thing to participate in for all those in the supply chain.


Tonight Paul Lehto posted a comment drawing parallels between his experience in contesting civil rights with digital voting technologies and the legality of purveying information using inaccessible technology.

"Both with DRM (Digital Reformatory Mandates) contracts and with elections, governments and corporations are increasingly using contracts/compacts/treaties or licensing contracts as an improper method of “opting out” of constitutional limitations or core human rights enforcement, instead of using the only proper method available: actually amending the constitution. Just hours ago, Washington state become the 5th state to pass the “National Popular Vote Compact” which is en end-around the relatively unpopular Electoral College method of electing U.S. Presidents.

Now, I myself don’t particularly like the Electoral College, but it’s even more fundamental that contracts can’t be used to modify core rights at all, in most cases, and in any case they certainly don’t modify the rights of those who haven’t even signed the bloody contract, digitally or otherwise.

With Digital Reformatory Mandates it seems to me that, among other things, big corporate providers have no intention of following constitutional and legal schemes of copyright that require that knowledge always (eventually) make it into the public domain. There doesn’t appear to be any real intention of making available an unrestricted public domain version of the work seventy or more years later (or whatever the applicable copyright period happens to be). As such, these contracts also go above and beyond what fundamental law allows. The UDHR
"Universal Declaration of Human Rights" recently cited on this list aptly points out that “IP” “rights” are not on a par with core human rights, they are privileges handed out at the discretion of governments.

In contrast, inalienable rights consist of things (in the USA at least) as simple as the right to file bankruptcy (no contract is valid that purports to waive that right) or the right to seek a divorce. Similarly, one may not waive one’s right to vote by contract or other core rights.

If the list agrees that knowledge and access thereto is a core human right, and if the list agrees that licensing contracts or technological structures that put freedom and knowledge in a kind of private prison via Digital Reformatory Mandates, then what is called a “facial attack” on the DRM regime is clearly available in various forms."


Australia does not have fair use, it does not have the same Constitutional liberties which exist in the USA, however we do have laws ensuring people should have access to goods and services in an accessible manner.

I don't know which way this debate will proceed but in either direction the debate about facilitating accessible technologies should raise some interesting issues for those who may need to unpick DRM/TPM issues from either a technical or a legal perspective.

/me hopes that what this means is that DRM effects disfunction that we already have legal recourse to outlaw.

Janet (XYL)

Podcasts I've been listening to recently

Recently I've been listening to a couple of podcasts about HAM radio, homebrew, computers and Linux.

I have been hanging out for the next podcast from Bill N2CQR. Bill posts usually once a fortnight and keeps an interesting blog called SolderSmoke. Homebrew amateur radio, some travel log, some amateur astronomy and other related geeky things.

A couple of weeks back I found Linux in the HAM Shack, which is self explanatory really. Russ K5TUX and Richard KB5JBV, aim to walk you through all the popular things you's likely do with computers in HAM radio. Assume radio experience, but not Linux experience.

I have at least a hour bus trip to work and then another hour home again, so these podcasts help fill the voids in my head with useful radio thoughts =)


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Progress on NE602 based direct conversion receiver

So today I stayed home due to brain pain, it had been building up for the last few days. Also I had difficulty with my balance. To the point that walking involved bumping into everything. Lots of water and pain killers helped a little, breakfast and coffee later helped a little too. However the head ache didn't wear off until late into the afternoon with more sleep. So I spent some of the day sitting down, tidying the shed.

The cool thing about that was I found a couple of little paper bags with parts that I had bought months back and promptly filed for safe keeping in boxes! Anyhow, that list of parts contained an SA602, 3.579MHz crystals, a variable poly-cap, a large breadboard and some zeners.

This was all the missing parts for the NE602 based direct conversion receiver I've been wanting to build. So late this afternoon I sorted out all the other parts, put them in a box and setup on the kitchen table to assemble. My soldering iron and other tools are currently at a friends, so I pretty much had to assemble everything up on the breadboard.

Made dinner, a tasty curry with shallot pancakes. Then assembled it as per the circuit from W1AW. I am not sure where I first found it, google has a few references to it about. There are also a few variations on the NE602 direct conversion receiver, like the MRX-40_Mini_Receiver and another that I like using LC tank circuits for both the RF input filter and the oscillator side.

I fired it up but heard absolutely nothing. Much comparing with the diagram led to adding the vcc and ground rail for the LM386, after which I could hear familiar hash with the speaker held very close to my ear. I dug out the Pixie2 hoping to create some kind of signal. However the oscillator from the Pixie2 did not create the expected signal or inteference on the DC receiver. So this needs looking at another day when I can focus for more than ten minutes at a time. Hopefully this coming weekend wont involve any more headaches.


Monday, April 13, 2009

2 Meter Portable Ops

Yesterday Karl VK5FOSS and I VK5FNET, worked through the check list to do a test set up for the 2 meter portable rig. The aim was to get all the kit together for operating in the field. Why would we do that you ask? Well last year I wasn't really quite ready for either of the rallies that we worked at. The ROSA and the Classic Rally of Adelaide. Both time Karl and I worked as radio operators. The main function of the role is to record information on the stage and pass this information as 'messages' to Rally Control.

HAM radio operators work under the banner of WICEN. WICEN is an organisation for emergency radio communications to help in message passing for the emergency organisations like the Country Fire Services, Police, Ambulances, etc. The aim here is for radio operators to work well under pressure to get messages through under tricky conditions. I've been told that despite the technical problems I had at the rallies, I did a good job and should continue working in this field. So once I am confident I have useful portable kit I will join WICEN and do more formal activities with them. Here is a summary from the de-brief of the last rallies.

Anyway, so yesterday we made a list of things we are missing and working to narrow that down. Along with places to find said missing items. Things like; good rope, large non-black tent pegs, tubing for another mast, extra RF patch cables, another dummy load, a good box on wheels that can be pulled or pushed like a sack truck and fix my SWR meter.

So later in the day we put together a couple more patch leads and a 7.5watt dummy load for Karl. I have also spent a fair bit of time working on the SWR meter. I looks good to me, but I think I'll follow up with some of the local HAMs to confirm that its accurate as I had to repair the input connector. Which meant disassembling the whole thing and rebuilding it again, which means it will need re-calibration.

Was planning some more study for the next exam today, but a long list of around the house jobs are yet to be done. You know the ones, mowing, digging, weeding, tidying... Maybe tonight =)
The main reason I need to push to get these exams out of the way is that I really want to work packet at the next rally. This is where my radio/linux/networking/computing interests all meet. There is so much stuff to explore in this space, thankfully it doesn't seem to change very fast, so I will have a chance to catch up =) Then I can start work into the areas of HF and 2 meter packet radio with some of the local guys. Not sure where that will end yet =)


Monday, March 09, 2009

dreams of arduinos

Its one of those local public holidays today. Cup day or something. The kind that make you sleep in, warm enough to organise firewood and mow the back lawn. Well whats left of the lawn from the water bans and hot summer, but then theres the go inside time. Cool down with a chilled beverage and surf the 'net time.

I've been following the SolderSmoke blog and podcast, Bill mentioned that he put in a submission to Hack A Day about QRSS. Hack A Day is one of those sites that just gets the juices in the brain a pumping and thinking about building various things.

The first thing I found this morning was pluggable modules on an arduino shield, like lego blocks to enable fast prototyping of hardware and software.

The second was a two servo, four legged robot powered by four AA batteries and an Arduino.

The third was a tiny parallel supercomputer; the non-von1-supercomputer. There was another project a while back implementing a basic stamp supercomputer.

From a link somewhere I found one of the things that I keep crossing paths with, a home made Arduino board project. I found one today that set my mind racing off down the path of pluggable modules; the cheapduino.

So while not specifically parallel, but pluggable architectures of embedded systems. It could simplify the design of the individual board if a backplane had all the power, clock and a MPI interface for each CPU.

Perhaps a single USB connected backplane with a serial interface for each pluggable daughter board, in a simple frame that lets each daughter board have an edge connected I/O space. Something like the cards in a QBUS VAX. Smaller obviously, about five centimeters or two inches a side.

On that you could build a service per CPU, say, temperature logging, writing to a SD card, inrfa red comms., two wheeled robot platform built with servos, xigbee Tx/Rx, bluetooth...

I'm sure that there are loads of other ideas in this space. Its all about context and filling a need, its just strange some days where ones mind wanders... parallel pluggable embedded systems, which I'm sure one call call a mini-frame. Hmmmm ... theres an LCA talk in that I'm sure.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Band Pass Filters

Last night I built up an input band pass filter. The point of this little beastie is filter out the RF from above and below the band or radio frequency that you want to receive on.

I found a page on the band pass filters;

So the original Pixie 2 circuit - a direct conversion receiver I'd like to use for QRSS - has a low pass filter. Firstly, the reason the BPF project was started, is to remove all the spurious noise from other bands. Mainly the huge signal from the commercial AM broadcasters around 1.8MHz. Secondly, I want to make pretty sure that I'm not spraying harmonics across higher bands.

Some testing with the original LPF from the crystal oscillator shows a nice sine wave like signal with some noise on the peak of the upper cycle. However the Chebyshev BFP has lots of harmonics and looks like its attenuating a lot. I need to get some advice on reading the output of my CRO. Also a spectrum analyzer would be a very hand tool. But I'm not real happy with the output of the Chebyshev, it actually looks worse than the input side from the oscillator.

It seems, on advice from VK5TR / VK5JST, that many of the generic toroids from Altronics, DSE & Jaycar, may not have a suitable Q factor. Jim suggested the FT68-41 toroid cores. The suggested core is the T94-6. Will have to find a source of toroids specifically for the purpose. Not found any local suppliers, but will keep looking.

BPF == band pass filter
LPF == low pass filter
HPF == high pass filter
CRO == cathode ray oscilloscope
harmonics == multiples of the frequency that you are generating


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

LinuxSA Talk: Hacking the chumby, by Chris Iona

Chris Iona talks about "Hacking the chumby". Has a control panel. Runs Adobe Flash Lite 3.0. Plays FLV, PNG, GIF, MP3, some streams. 350MHz ARM9. Can boot from cramfs and chroot a distro(Debian) from an external USB drive. The 2009 model has an internal battery.

More interesting stuff at Bunnies blog of chumby hacks.

Monday, February 16, 2009

More on toroids

Been searching for info about the toroids from Altronics. Setting up a band pass filter for the QRSS receiver.

The L4534 seems to be the same dimensions as the T130-2.

OD = 1.30 / 33.0 mm +/- 0.02 in
ID = .780 in / 19.8 mm +/- 0.02 in
Ht = .437 in / 11.1 mm +/- 0.025 in

Also I've found a useful site on the standard sizes.

The T130-2 has a AL of 11 +/-5%. So then to calculate the inductance like so; uH=(AL*Turns2)/1000

The L4517 does not match up to any of the standard sizes. Its just a bit bigger than the T50-2. So I'll use that as a model and obviously subtract some turns ...

I have three of the L4517's would with 36 turns of 0.5mm enabled wire for an inductance of 12uH. Now to pick out the capacitors for the BPF. Then find the smallest way to build it all up on copper clad board for the Pixie2 in the Haighs tin.

kim vk5fnet

Sunday, February 15, 2009

How to capture output from a CW beacon with an Arduino?

So what the hell am I talking about? In them olden days CW, or as we know it, morse, was the primary means of radio communications. CW is still in active use today. Its common for HAM repeaters to use CW to identify their call sign. CW is also used for MEPT beacons. Its these beacons that I'm interested in listening out for. There are a couple of uses that beacons serve, firstly its a really useful thing to have a beacon on 24/7 to listen for so you can tell what the radio propagation is like. Another useful thing is many beacons are time based, so they transmit in regular intervals, ie every hour/half/quarter.

Now where does the Arduino fit into this? Ideally we need to monitor the incoming signals. We can do this with programs like glfer or baudline in Linux. In windows land there is Spectran and Argo. This requires the operator to sit and watch the waterfall screen scroll by and wait to see whats out there. Often what happens is that the operator will do a screen capture of the window with the waterfall to share what they saw. Often there will have to be a series of screen captures to get the entire message. I'm aiming to find a way to use the Arduino to monitor the audio from a Pixie2. Once an interesting signal is detected it either records the audio stream or attempts to decode it.

I'm sure there are useful SDRAM devices that you can store an audio stream to, not sure of the bandwidth, but expect that 10-44KHz audio wouldn't be that much of a challenge. Once you have the data then you manually need to view or listen to all the recorded streams and see of any of them are indeed useful. Perhaps its a little ambitious, but what I'd like to do is to decode the CW audio into text and record on the fly. Perhaps also logging to a serial port. We're talking about 25 words per minute, tops, for manually sent CW from a good operator. With QRSS we are talking about 0.3 baud, so much, much less. The hard part is actually processing the data and making clever descisions about what is real signal and what is noise.

If you've ever watched the waterfall scroll by, you'll see that there is a lot of noise out there. Much more than you'd expect. Every plasma TV, every AM radio station, every computer, etc adds to electrical and magnetic junk flying around. The power supply on my laptop is amazingly bad. So much so that I've added extra filtering so that I can use it near my Pixie2 to record the audio coming from it. Actually I don't use the PSU when recording any more, luckily the laptop has a 5 hour battery life. The laptop itself isn't too bad. I have added RF filtering on the audio input cable, which solved a bunch of things, but has reduced the sensitivity a bit. Its hard to measure.

Measuring seems to be the black art of HAM radio. Yes a DMM, a digital multi-meter will do a lot of things, but doesn't do everything. A while back I found a LCR meter, which has been really handy. L is inductance, C is capacitance, R is resistance. It does the job ok, but I'd like to compare it to another meter see see if its accurate.

Building radio gear is easy if you know all your components are right. I had a battle with measuring inductance before. Calculating coils it easy but you don't know if your theoretical model actually matches your hand wound inductor in the low pass filter. Is it really 2.2uF? Am I really getting RF above 4MHz filtered out? Is it actually 3MHz? I suppose thats where a spectrum analyser comes in. Good radio practice is all about measuring things. Things that measure things are not cheap as I've discovered.

My ongoing reading leads me down the path of buying some existing kits. Why? Other people measured things and made a kit with all the part supplied. You don't have to think too much about measuring the details, because the kit is supposed to work =) Not casting nasturtiums at all. However if I've any change to understand how all this stuff works, you need to cut the code yourself, wind the toroids yourself, put the transistors in backward the first time and mess with it and measure until you've got what you expected. I mean, who'd have thought that the 2N2222's that I baught from Dick Smith have a different pin out to the data sheet?!?!

Where was I going... oh yes, there is a point at which you don't want to have to build everything. There are nice kits out there and there are building blocks that you just want to slot in that just work. I am finding that I need to actually build some anyway as its the only way to learn about this stuff. Electronics isn't as easy as it first looks. Just like code, you have APIs, you have to muck around with the input/output matching, buffers and sometimes you need to add a few bypass capacitors, just because! I don't know why yet, but it makes a difference. One of these days I'm sure I'll understand RFC's too, people put them in funny places.

RF propagation is at a low right now. Sun spots are also at a low. Yes these are related. While propagation is bad, folks are playing with MEPT beacons that use QRSS, its a really slow form of CW. Why? Because when you slow down the data rate, you can decrease the bandwidth needed to send the signal. If you are narrowing the bandwidth you can use less power too. When receiving a QRSS signal, you only need to look at a very narrow chunk of RF spectrum. As little as 10Hz. Folks are using tiny amounts of power to get their signals around, as little as 100uW. 10mW will travel from the USA to Australia.

Stability becomes a problem when we are talking about a band 100Hz wide. You also need an oscillator that is very temperature insensitive. Which is where something simple like the Pixie2 comes in, it listens to a much wider chunk of RF spectrum. A peecee sound card has an input bandwidth around 44KHz. That is plenty wide enough to allow for a beacon and receiver to drift around. The main battle is find the signal in the first place.

As you make the radio hardware simpler, you may need to make the software a little more complex. A peecee has more then enough capacity to process this amount of information, but does an Arduino? I'm hoping that it does. To record a QRSS MEPT transmission and play back the message. Also I'd really like the Arduino to be independent from a peecee, so it can be remote.

The other option is a full SDR, software defined radio, but these are very expensive. Also a lot more flexible than a little direct conversion (DC) receiver like the Pixie2. The way the Australian dollar is compared to the US dollar theres no chance an SDR will land in my radio shack this year.

kim vk5fnet

Fun with toroids

The aim here is to find an inexpensive source of toroids for kits for QRSS receivers. Jaycar and Altronics have a reasonable number of shops around the place and also do Internet and mail order, so folks should be able to get the parts easily enough.

Anyhow, some time back I picked up all the 15.2X8.53X5.94 toroid cores, L4517 the local Aztronics. They sell from the Altronics catalog. So these cores are not standard sizes or models that are used in HAM radio, so far that I can make out. They are pretty close to a T50-2, as they are supposed to be iron core, but are a bit larger diameter. Using 0.5mm/24bs enameled copper wire, WW4016, from Jaycar, I've spread the turns out over at least 80% of the toroid, values as follows;
  • 10 turns gives 0.001mH

  • 20 turns gives 0.003mH

  • 25 turns gives 0.005mH

  • 36 turns gives 0.012mH - for 3.5MHz BPF

I could probably squeeze on another 5 turns, but 10-36 turns covers the inductance that I need right now. Perhaps other gauges of wire will yield other usable values. These toroids as they are setup are intended for low pass filters or band pass filters. The Pixie 2 needs just one in its current configuration. I intend to build up a better filter as there is lots of AM broadcast signal there when down on the flat in Adelaide.

kim vk5fnet

Sunday, February 01, 2009


Kim returned from the LCA09 with a brainful
of tech and hands full of Tasmanian treasure.

He also brought home a
Community Recognition Award certificate for me.
Thankyou very much!
Congratulations to Alli Russell and
Hugh Blemings who were also recognised. =)

The conference sounds like it was a ripper.
Looking forward to checking out the recordings.
Good luck to the Wellington team with LCA2010,
the incoming Linux Australia committee,
and all the best to the LA mob for 2009.


Monday, January 12, 2009

olsrd ported to android

Saturday I spoke with Joel Stanely about his new Android phone.

I've been looking for a replacement for mine as its just getting old and falling to bits.

This morning I found another incentive to look at the android;
olsrd ported to the google phone

OLSR on a phone, sounds like the kind of networking for me =)

kim vk5fnet

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fun with radio - part 2

Now that I have built a receiver, as the first stage in a QRSS grabber, how do I calibrate it?

I commented in Bills blog, SolderSmoke News, about the how the two pixie 2's David Rowe and I built were not on the same frequency despite being the same circuit. They are about 2KHz apart, which we put down to the tolerances in the components.

My HF rig has a 'digial readout' that measures down to 1KHz increments. QRSS uses a 'band' of 100Hz wide. Thats right, a tenth of what my smallest increment on the HF rig. So how to I measure that?

I'm looking to build a frequency counter or meter. Are there homebrew designs out there?

kim vk5fnet

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Fun with radio - part 1

Yesterday I spent an afternoon working with David Rowe building a Pixie 2;

The Pixie 2 a tiny direct conversion radio intended for training new HAMs in under standing radio and building electronics. The initial build was a little bit troublesome as the oscillator wasn't. This makes it quite hard to build the rest of the radio, as it can be built in stages; the oscillator, the PA/detector, the audio amplifier.

Well the afternoon turned out to be quite productive and with a working radio picking up Davids Pixie transmitting from a foot away on the work bench. It puts out a whopping 200milliWatts and the output waveform on the oscilloscope was very sinusoidal.

David has a full amateur radio license and is a very cluey electronics engineer. I have my foundation license, so while I'm not worried about building a transmitter yet, I am quite interested in software defined radio(SDR) and QRSS. Which is what this project/journey is all about.

Whats next? Well as I now have a DC radio with audio output, SDR being the end goal, the next thing to build is the audio interface to the laptop so I can get the Linux QRSS client running...

kim vk5fnet

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A2K from FSF Europe's Georg Greve

"[...] Both patents and standards derive their justification from the public benefit, yet upholding one deprives the other of its function. Standards seek to counteract monopolies, patents establish them. Or, as Tomoko Miyamoto, Senior Counsellor of the Patent Law Section in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) said in her presentation: Patent thickets and patent hold-ups arise from legitimate exploitation of the exclusive rights intentionally conferred by patents. They are a normal and intended consequence of the patent system. [...]"

The article just went online at

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Join the UN open letter - action to protect the public-ness and the egalitarian nature of the Internet.

Most of us tend to take the commons and the public nature of the Internet for granted. However, increasing corporatisation and control of the Internet are strongly threatening these fundamental characteristics of the Internet as we know it. Therefore, six civil society organisations in India have proposed an open letter to the UN Internet Governance Forum which meets for its third annual meeting between 3rd and 6th December in Hyderabad. The letter exhorts urgent global action to ensure that the public-ness and the egalitarian nature of the Internet are preserved as its essential features. The possibilities of democracy, equity and social justice in our societies will be significantly impacted by the extent to which we can achieve this objective.

To read the complete letter click here.

For the current endorsement list click here

Sign the open letter

Monday, December 01, 2008


Brendan Scott writes about a nasty twist to the idea of showing respect by copying or following a style or meme.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

pwned by the pipes

EFF Gwen Hinze on the risks of a WIPO Broadcasting Treaty

EFF and a diverse group of public interest NGOs, libraries and major U.S. tech industry players continue to oppose the current treaty draft because it's not limited to signal protection, but would instead create a new layer of exclusive intellectual property rights for broadcasters and cablecasters that would harm access to knowledge and consumers' existing rights under national copyright law, endanger citizen broadcasting on the Internet, raise competition policy concerns and stifle technological innovation.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Why I copyfight by Cory Doctorow

Why I copyfight Cory Doctorow

An extract :

Indeed, copyists are busily building an elaborate ethos of what can and can't be shared, and with whom, and under what circumstances. They join private sharing circles, argue norms among themselves, and in word and deed create a plethora of "para-copyrights" that reflect a cultural understanding of what they're meant to be doing.

The tragedy is that these para-copyrights have almost nothing in common with actual copyright law. No matter how hard you adhere to them, you're probably breaking the law — so if you're in making anime music videos (videos for pop music made by cleverly splicing together clips of anime movies — google for "amv" to see examples), you can abide by all the rules of your group about not showing them to outsiders and only using certain sources for music and video, but you're still committing millions of dollars' worth of infringement every time you sit down to your keyboard.

It's not surprising that para-copyright and copyright don't have much to say to one another. After all, copyright regulates what giant companies do with each other. Para-copyright regulates what individuals do with each other in a cultural settings. Why be surprised that these rulesets are so disjointed?

It's entirely possible that there's a detente to be reached between the copyists and the copyright holders: a set of rules that only try to encompass "culture" and not "industry." But the only way to bring copyists to the table is to stop insisting that all unauthorized copying is theft and a
crime and wrong. People who know that copying is simple, good, and beneficial hear that and assume that you're either talking nonsense or that you're talking about someone else.

Friday, November 07, 2008

KEI on Copyright and accessibility at WIPO

KEI Statement on SCCR future work

KEI supports work on copyright limitations and exceptions. Like many others, we think that access for disabled persons should be given priority. The World Blind Union (WBU) has petitioned WIPO consistently on this topic since 2002, at SCCR 7. It is time to address the human rights of disabled persons.

asks the SCCR to remove the broadcasting treaty from the agenda until such time as there is greater consensus over the purpose of the treaty.

Piracy of broadcasts is already illegal under numerous treaties, including those that deal with copyright, or regulatory policy. If new economic rights are created for cable and satellite television channels, there will be a huge concentration of rights in a handful of corporations, at the expense of consumers and creative communities.

KEI suggests the SCCR broaden its program on the issue of performers. The SCCR might gather data and statistics on the distribution of income from performances, or ask the Secretariat to commission a study on the factors that influence the distribution of revenues to performers. This should also fruitfully consider the types of alternative remuneration schemes referred to by the IMMF, considering the possibility that there are limits to the enforcement of exclusive rights.

The orphan works element of the EU proposal could be included in the agenda item for limitations and exceptions.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

No filter tshirt

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Action needed to expand exceptions and limitations to copyright law,

Action needed to expand exceptions and limitations to copyright law by Gwen Hinze (July 2008) Third world network

These discussions flowed from three proposals to give access to the most vulnerable or socially submitted to WIPO by the government of Chile at prioritized sectors.
A paper looking at international negotiations for exemptions and limitations:

1. Identification, from the national intellectual property systems of WIPO Member States, of national models and practices concerning exceptions and limitations.

2. Analysis of the exceptions and limitations needed to promote creation and innovation and the dissemination of developments stemming therefrom.

3. Establishment of agreement on exceptions and limitations for purposes of public interest that must be envisaged as a minimum in all national legislations for the benefit of the community.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

ACTA proposed copyright treaty

The next piece of 'governance' using IP based property and control.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Australia abstains on OOXML

Australia's NO vote was pivotal, so in effect the abstain is likely to win the day for OOXML.
It does seem a lot of work to go to in order to have no opinion.

As I understand it many committee members were quietly hopeful of a No vote. Australia is not the only nation where people have invested a lot of time and expressed their perspectives thoroughly and carefully through this process only to find that the final vote bears no connection to their work.

There have certainly been no shortage of concerns, published openly, expressed to Standards Australia, or to ISO directly.

Sadly given the other irregularities in the process I am not surprised about Australia's abstension. It has been an amazing process to watch.

So the abstension is likely to mean a win. That brings Australia a pre-stamped commitment to a format which:
* needs yet to be completely written and implemented,
* in its current and intended state conflicts with other standards and
* is only drafted in terms of its relationship with closed Microsoft formats
* is not considered legally safe for interoperability work.

Quoting Jan Wildeboer Red Hat EMEA Evangelist Open Source Affairs

"OOXML was created solely for use in Microsoft applications. It is not currently suitable as an international standard, because it cannot be completely implemented by anyone without access to inside information. Although it is more than 6,000 pages long, it contains various references to things that are defined only in Microsoft's software, not in the specification itself."


Needless to say the ISO stamp does not change any of the realities described below, and so the inability to express the fact that the proposal is broken through the ISO process will likely result in a change in what the ISO brand means rather than resulting in an acceptance of the proposal as something which can be relied upon as a useful tool in making interoperable data.
It will be interesting to see where nations will look to in the future in order to find whether a format can effectively serve a public function without causing vendor lockin and anti-trust concerns.

From: Peter Drummond in an Open Letter to ISO.
To: ua.gro.sdradnats|tcestni#ua.gro.sdradnats|tcestni
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2008 08:47:55 +1000
Subject: OOXML ISO proposal

Dear ISO Standards Committee -

As Australia's IUPAP representative for computational physics, and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, I would like to make the strongest possible objection to the proposal that the OOXML specification be adopted by the ISO. Australia should vote to reject this proposal.

This proposal is along the lines that ‘We wish to propose an alternative standard for measurement called the Microsoft metre, which equals 3.14159 standard metres, except on leap years, when it equals 2.71828 standard metres’. Such a ridiculous proposal is unacceptable.

The simple point here is that there is an existing international standard called the ODF, just as we have an existing international standard for length (the meter), time (the second) and weight (the kilogram). The entire point of having a standard is the uniqueness of the standard!

To have two completely incompatible standards is not necessary, and would lead to the destruction of the standardization process. In the long run, this is less efficient, increases costs, and greatly reduces the chances of archival documents being readable in the distant future.

If a corporation or individual wishes to make technical improvements to a standard like ODF, there are channels and procedures for this. It is totally counterproductive and foolish to try and create a second incompatible standard, purely to afford competitive advantages to one company.

Finally, I haven't even mentioned the numerous technical problems to the OOXML proposal. This is so complex and poorly specified that there appears to be no fully compliant implementation in existence now, nor any means to verify compliance. To avoid embarrassment, please vote NO.

Yours sincerely,

Peter D Drummond, FAA,
Professor of Theoretical Physics,
University of Queensland.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happy document freedom day

Today is Document Freedom Day: Roughly 200 teams from more than 60 countries worldwide are organising local activities to raise awareness for Document Freedom and Open Standards. To support the initiatives surrounding the first day to celebrate document liberation, DFD starter packs containing a DFD flag, t-shirts and leaflets have been sent to the first 100 registered teams over the past weeks.

Open Document Format (ODF) is the first and only *Open* Standard standardised in ISO. It is supported by many applications, some of them proprietary, some of them Free Software. If you are currently using any of the applications below, your software already supports Open Document Format:

* AbiWord
* Google Docs
* IBM Lotus Symphony
* KOffice
* NeoOffice
* StarOffice

If you are not already using any of these applications, the following applications are Free Software and available for public download. Try ODF today:

* AbiWord
* KOffice
* NeoOffice

Wikipedia on OpenDocument

Microsoft's promise covers only fully-compliant implementations.
But Microsoft Office isn't fully compliant with the OOXML (OfficeOpen XML) specification, therefore those who seek interoperability with Microsoft's software won't be covered by its promise.

Correction: It also doesn't cover the optional or not fully detailed parts of the specification. Almost everything is optional and far from complete in the specification.