brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell

1Mar/090

The Internet can be an odd place…

This is just a strange little story. I've wanted to add some time markers to the spectrum display on my grabber at http://qrss.info, but really didn't want to link in any kind of fancy graphics code. Really, if I had the data for a simple 8x8 pixel bitmap font, I could plot the characters myself (after all, that's pretty much how we had to do it back in the old days). So, I typed "8x8 bitmap font" in the Google search bar, found that a gentlemen named John Hall had made just such a thing, and said that it was free for any use. Very good, say I. I downloaded the PNG file that had all the characters, massaged it in a couple of ways, and three minutes later, I had a font definition file that I could use in my revamped version of my beacon app.

Later, I thought that it would be nice if I acknowledged the largess of my font-benefactor, only to find something odd: John "Overcode" Hall had passed away back in 2005 after a battle with melanoma. Here's one of the announcements. Oddly enough, the website that I got the font file from earlier seems to be down. Very strange.

In any case, thanks John. I hope that after my time has come and gone, maybe some of this will live on, and inspire others. Or, at least help them hack together a program.

Addendum: Here's the link that Google sent me to.

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1Mar/090

Sigh… Softrock not working…

I think I'll need to borrow an oscilloscope and see what's going on. Frankly, I think I just made too many mistakes during assembly. Since I know at least four I made and corrected, I suspect another four luck under the cover. The primary oscillator seems to be running, but I am no longer certain the divider is running (it did when I previously tested it, but who knows...)

I'll work on it some more again soon.

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1Mar/090

Morning QRSS discoveries…

After more or less a full day where I made almost ever mistake possible (exaggerating) on gettin my Softrock Lite built (which it is, except for connectors, it's ready for final testing), I put the grabber back up in receive mode. I didn't bother to get the WSPR beacon back up for now, but that will return shortly. Scanning through backlog didn't reveal too much of interest, except for a very brief 15 minute period where VE1VDM and W1BW were booming in. Here's an exemplar:

scr00082

I also noted that my frequency stability is vastly improved without the thermal cycling of transmit going on. Lines appear flat, nobody is wandering up and down, proving rather conclusively that it was me.

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