SHF UKAC 26-June-2018

I have added a camera next to the dish so that I can see, if I have its alignment right, where the dish beam is pointing. This allows me to see when I am beaming into a tree or roofs and then I can tweak the elevation of the dish.

I started on 3cm. I had pretty well given up looking for a reflection path to Peter G3PHO, but we had discovered a weak reflection point. We found this when we were both beaming towards Maurice F6DKW. So Peter was my first contact.

I had heard both DB0GHZ & OZ5SHF beacons before the contest, so I beamed towards Denmark. I called Kjeld OZ1FF expecting a weak but readable CW signal. He came back to me S9 on SSB! By the time I gave up on 3cm I had worked four danish stations. The duct didn’t seem to want to stretch into Sweden or Germany.

I missed a number of stations in the UK, like Mel G8EOP.

I got 12 contacts, which is probably a new record for me. My best DX was OZ3Z at 786 km. Keith G4ODA said he had an OZ pile-up!

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On 13cm I could just hear Jon GM4JTJ, but too weak to work. I’m guessing I might have worked Kjeld on this band too, but he did not respond to my KST meeps. I did get my first contact on the continent for this band: Frank PE1EWR, so he was my best DX. Gordon G8PNN was a huge signal.

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3cm UK Microwave Group contest

In spite of the high pressure over the UK, I did not hear any continental stations. I did try Maurice F6DKW, but it was no go. However, to my surprise, Peter G3PHO heard me! Tweaking the dish a little we could hear each other, though fairly weakly. So we must have found some sort of reflection. For me this is over the shoulder of the Crosspool hill, aiming just over the ridge tiles of the terrace along Mulehouse Road.

Nick G4KUX was my best DX.

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Installation of an Epson ET-4500 printer on Ubuntu Linux

The Epson installation information that comes with the ET-4500 does not mention Linux & the DVD offered no Linux installation or drivers.

I searched the Epson dowloads site for ET-4500 and Linux. This offered 3 downloads:

Epson_ET-4500-Linux

I downloaded ESC/P-R Driver (generic driver).

The notes said that for Ubuntu I should install lsb first. In a terminal window I entered:

sudo apt-get install lsb

It installed a lot of stuff!

The drivers downloaded from the Epson page above had huge long file names with different suffixes for different file types with the unstated message: Here you are guys, you figure it out!

I chose the epson-inkjet-printer-escpr_1.6.21-1lsb3.2_amd64.deb file from the downloaded files. The user shouldn’t have to guess, but I guessed I needed a .deb file as I guessed Ubuntu is a Debian based distribution. I guessed I needed amd64 as the PC has a 64 bit Intel processor. When I double-clicked

epson-inkjet-printer-escpr_1.6.21-1lsb3.2_amd64.deb

Ubuntu Software Centre opened epson-inkjet-printer-escpr Epson Inkjet Printer, Driver (ESC/P-R) for Linux. I have no idea if lsb, whatever that is, was used.

Then I installed the Printer Utility in the same way from the epson-printer-utility_1.0.2-1lsb3.2_amd64.deb file.

It is probably a good idea not to wear good clothing for this bit, but filling the ink tanks was quite straightforward. I emptied the whole of the bottle of each colour into the appropriate tank. It is nice to be able to see the appropriate ink level.

I used a LAN patch lead to connect the printer from its LAN socket to the switch on the network. In the printer settings I set the Network Settings to have a manual IP address of 192.168.n.m (n and m as per my local network; I picked an unused address) with a network mask of 255.255.255.0 and I also set the gateway to the router’s local IP address. I haven’t tried a networked printer before.

Opening System Settings/Printers, I could see: “There are no printers configured yet“. I clicked Add.

Epson Inkjet Printer #1” was listed as the first device. I wonder where this item has come from?

I selected Network Printer/Find Printer. It added Epson ET-4500 I(IP network printer via DNS-SD) as the next entry. I selected that & clicked Forward. It displayed searching for drivers.

It displayed Describe Printer. The defaults looked OK, so I clicked Apply. It offered me a test page. Amazingly, this worked.

It always amazes me when anything involving a computer works, especially when a network is involved.

So far I’ve installed the printer drivers on Ubuntu 14.04 & 16.04. I haven’t tried installing scanner drivers yet.

 

 

 

 

Having a rest from HP inkjet printers

In the past I have used HP printers & tried refilling the cartridges with good success.

However I have found that a printer may just take against even new HP cartridges & these are expensive. Figuring out what is going on from the cryptic or non-existent error messages can waste a lot of time when all I want is a printer that works.

Recently my main printer decided that the colour cartridge needed attention. I took it out & cleaned all the contacts. It was quite new. I had printed little with it. I didn’t actually want to print in colour; I wanted to print black only, but the printer demands a working colour cartridge that it is happy with in order to use the black cartridge.

My partner recently bought an extra large black cartridge for her HP printer; it cost about £40! A standard cartridge contains little ink these days.

Finding HP printers frustrating, fussy & expensive, I have decided to try others. I’ve been offered a Samsung laser printer to try. I’ve ordered an Epson ET-4500 deskjet printer from John Lewes (Currys & Staples have disappeared from Sheffield town centre). The ET-4500 has re-fillable ink tanks & you can see how much ink is in them.

G3UVR in the UK Microwave Group contest, plus G4LDR & G4ALY to the south.

I had an SSB chat with Denis G3UVR on 3cm today. I listened to him on the K3’s little loudspeaker. He videoed his reception of me. I don’t really understand how the signals get to him. My rotator dial said 258deg, which is a bit short of the 266 deg direct path. That may just be poor calibration though.

I listened for John G3XDY, but unusually, I could not hear him. I had a chat with David G4RQI.

I thought two contacts would be it. Then Nick G4KUX came on from the north, a good signal. As thunderstorms crossed the midlands, I found a scatterpoint near Birmingham, to the obstructed south. Tilting the dish up a few degrees to peak the signal, I could hear Neil G4LDR in IO91. We worked using SSB. The sound was a bit mushy, but Q5.

Then I used the same scatterpoint to work Ralph G4ALY in IO70 using CW for a new square on 3cm. So my best DX was via rain-scatter.

I ended with a grand total of 5 contacts.

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22-May-2018 SHF UKAC – OZ1FF on 3cm

I started on 3cm looking for Mel G8EOP on Scapegoat Hill near Huddersfield. I heard a brief burst from Mel & then lost him. I found Tony G8DMU/P in IO94CB. I worked Denis G3UVR easily on SSB, so conditions seemed quite good.

I was hoping good conditions had persisted since hearing the DB0GHZ beacon the previous day. I messaged Kjeld OZ1FF via the ON4KST website & asked him to beam my way. At first I turned the wrong rotator, but once I turned the dish I found he was a readable signal, if a bit quick on the key. I hope I’ve got him in the log correctly as this is my first contact with Denmark on 3cm & a new band for working Kjeld. It amazes me what an old satellite dish & some domestic plumbing fittings can do.

I tried and failed with Pete G4CLA (who I’ve worked before on 3cm) & G8OHM, who is a difficult direction to the south. The direct path to Mandy M0MDY did not work & I worked her off a reflection to the east.

Nick G4KUX was strong & we could probably have easily worked on SSB, but we completed using CW.

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I had to find a transmit fault before I could work this band at the rather late time of 9:30pm local time. I have a lot of bits of cables and connectors what with the 10m IF attenuator, the 70cm IF and PTT control of the K3, Microwave Modules transverter and the SG-Labs transverter. Unplugging things & re-plugging things seemed to sort it. I have a DVM on the directional coupler for forward power from the SG-Labs transverter & this showed about 0.35V, so transmit was working.

13cm seemed harder going. I couldn’t hear the GB3ANT beacon. I tried with Mike G8CUL to the (difficult) south. Aircraft scatter probably gave some assistance. Denis was a CW contact on this band. I managed to forget David G4RQI who I’d worked on 3cm & can usually work on 13cm. Keith G4ODA was a great signal on both bands.

I could just hear Gordon G8PNN, but too weak to work. I failed to hear Jack GM4COX in IO74.

It was way past my bed time when I finished, but before the official end of the contest at 11:30pm local time.

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