radio rx antenna


0000a8e4 | 2015-12-26T16:49:20Z

radio rx antenna length/perimeter


0000a8e5 | 2015-12-26T16:49:22Z

radio rx antenna type


skywire loop cut years ago by willow-pruning neighbour

0000a8e6 | 2015-12-26T16:49:24Z

radio rx antenna transmatch


0000a8e7 | 2015-12-26T16:49:26Z

radio rx rig


0000a8de | 2015-12-26T16:49:28Z

radio rx frequency (mhz)

14.050012 (14.050129)

0000a8e0 | 2015-12-26T16:49:28Z

radio morse key


0000a8dc | 2015-12-26T16:49:30Z

radio morse speed (wpm)


0000a8dd | 2015-12-26T16:49:32Z

radio tx power (w)


0000a8df | 2015-12-26T16:49:36Z

cq de ik2djv

0000a8e1 | 2015-12-26T16:49:42Z | radio rx message

g0vbc de ik2djv [...] romeo [...] ur rst 449

0000a8e2 | 2015-12-26T16:50:00Z | radio rx message

path died

0000a8e3 | 2015-12-26T16:51:00Z | radio comment

radio on/off


0000a8e8 | 2015-12-27T15:45:00Z

radio rx frequency (mhz)


0000a8e9 | 2015-12-27T15:45:02Z

in the spirit of ‘william of occam’: computer off; pencil and paper; little analogue alarm clock; 3-led torch

0000a8ea | 2015-12-27T15:45:04Z | radio comment

radio rx frequency (mhz)

14.059995 (14.060112)

0000a8eb | 2015-12-27T16:00:00Z

radio tx power (w)


0000a8ec | 2015-12-27T16:00:04Z


0000a8ed | 2015-12-27T16:00:06Z | radio tx message

radio tx power (w)


0000a8ee | 2015-12-27T16:05:00Z


0000a8ef | 2015-12-27T16:05:02Z | radio tx message

radio tx power (w)


0000a8f0 | 2015-12-27T16:07:00Z


0000a8f1 | 2015-12-27T16:07:02Z | radio tx message

radio tx power (w)


0000a8f2 | 2015-12-27T16:09:00Z


0000a8f3 | 2015-12-27T16:09:02Z | radio tx message

i keep forgetting to specify iz3cqi

0000a8f4 | 2015-12-27T16:10:00Z | radio comment

radio rx frequency (mhz)


0000a8f5 | 2015-12-27T16:12:00Z

radio rx frequency (mhz)

7.030071 (7.03013)

0000a8f6 | 2015-12-27T16:17:00Z

cq g0vbc de iz3cqi

0000a8f7 | 2015-12-27T16:17:02Z | radio rx message

radio rx pre-amp


0000a8f8 | 2015-12-27T16:17:04Z

radio rx pre-amp


0000a8fa | 2015-12-27T16:47:58Z

radio rx frequency (mhz)

3.560014 (3.560044)

0000a8f9 | 2015-12-27T16:48:00Z

cq de m0dgq

0000a8fb | 2015-12-27T16:48:00Z | radio rx message

radio rx frequency (mhz)

3544.970451 (3545)

0000a8fc | 2015-12-27T16:50:00Z

de mw0luk

0000a8fd | 2015-12-27T16:50:02Z | radio rx message

wobbly tone

0000a8fe | 2015-12-27T16:50:04Z | radio comment

radio on/off


0000a8ff | 2015-12-27T17:00:00Z

radio on/off


0000a900 | 2015-12-29T12:47:00Z

radio rx frequency (mhz)

14.060038 (14.060155)

0000a901 | 2015-12-29T12:58:00Z

cq de ik2cgh

0000a902 | 2015-12-29T12:58:02Z | radio rx message

radio rx frequency (mhz)

14.059621 (14.059738)

0000a903 | 2015-12-29T13:03:00Z

cq g0vbc de iz3cqi

0000a904 | 2015-12-29T13:03:02Z | radio rx message

r r r de iz3cqi [...] rst 539 539 = [tone goes up and down as cris retunes] hi nice [...] ar g0vbc de iz3cqi k

0000a905 | 2015-12-29T13:04:00Z | radio rx message

[...] qsb but ok = hr pwr 1 1 [only got the 1s] = wx fairly sunny es cold = my tx is [...] = g0vbc de iz3cqi

0000a906 | 2015-12-29T13:08:00Z | radio rx message

[...] so is gu e e e giulia asleep? [...]

0000a907 | 2015-12-29T13:12:00Z | radio tx message

hi yes yes also a bit sick = so she is quite normal hi = it is nice to hear you = [...] many more qso [...] our rig es cw ability hi de iz3cqi

0000a908 | 2015-12-29T13:13:00Z | radio rx message

i think i had said something about my brain not being the most reliable for cw and piano playing and that the beer does not help

0000a909 | 2015-12-29T13:18:00Z | radio comment

hi de iz3cqi hi = i am quite tired still due to my job but doing qso does help to recover energies hi = i can i use higer for here currently do coper [...] = [...] ll send [...] = qru? g0vbc de iz3cqi k

0000a90a | 2015-12-29T13:22:00Z | radio rx message

qrg 10.136

0000a90b | 2015-12-29T13:32:00Z | radio rx message

radio rx frequency (mhz)

10.135633 (10.135717)

0000a90c | 2015-12-29T13:35:00Z

r de iz3cqi = rst rst 319 but clear bk

0000a90d | 2015-12-29T13:36:00Z | radio rx message

de iz3cqi too qsb too qsb sri

0000a90e | 2015-12-29T13:40:00Z | radio rx message

radio tx power (w)


0000a90f | 2015-12-29T13:43:00Z

rst 559 559 ch but [...] = hr my pwr 30w = i think you should improve earth of ur ant = how much long is your wire? k

0000a910 | 2015-12-29T13:43:30Z | radio rx message

bk too qsb too qsb sri sri copied very little dr matt = she sri gu

0000a911 | 2015-12-29T13:51:00Z | radio rx message

nil pt nil clcry bk

0000a912 | 2015-12-29T13:53:00Z | radio rx message

nil qsb qsb qrt qrt / qrx qrx k

0000a913 | 2015-12-29T13:53:30Z | radio rx message

rw r r r qsy qsy 4t qrp qrp qsy ?

0000a914 | 2015-12-29T13:54:30Z | radio rx message

radio rx frequency (mhz)

7.030016 (7.030075)

0000a915 | 2015-12-29T13:57:00Z

radio rx frequency (mhz)

7.028889 (7.028948)

0000a916 | 2015-12-29T14:01:00Z

rst 429 429 bk

0000a917 | 2015-12-29T14:01:02Z | radio rx message

[...] = ok still qsb qsb dr mati hr pwr 5tw bk

0000a918 | 2015-12-29T14:03:00Z | radio rx message

de iz3cqi ok [...] ur getr 3e9 = o [...] nt peri api neds smp m3ed on the qrt deo nr nr on i will drop u new note 3ia ill t t tow i tos aea eisfrat x es hpe cul ? 77 ig q b

0000a919 | ? 2015-12-29T14:03:00Z ? | radio rx message

ciao ciao 77 sk

0000a91a | 2015-12-29T14:12:00Z | radio rx message

radio on/off


0000a91b | 2015-12-29T14:13:00Z

Invigorating Bartók at CBSO Centre, Birmingham

Remember hearing a lunchtime concert on Radio 3 and wishing you were there? Well yesterday I was there and wished the world had had the opportunity to tune in.

I like Haydn, but his String Quartet in F minor, Op.20 No.5 was not what brought this concert to life; the second work did that.

In 1995, Simon Rattle and the CBSO had introduced me to Nielsen’s Fifth Symphony and Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, both of which had knocked my socks off. Now in 2016, Amanda Lake, Bryony Morrison, Catherine Bower and Helen Edgar were introducing me to Bartók’s String Quartet No.1, Op.7 and nearly made my heart explode.

Quite apart from the breathtaking composition and its vigorous execution, the cohesion of the band was first-rate, in spite of the various complexities of the work. Everything came naturally, from variations in tempi to fiddly ornamentation, allowing the music to thrive. The players seemed to be relating not only to each other, but to the composer himself, filling the room with his passion. Indeed on several occasions the four players sounded like forty or more, reminding me of the scale of the Concerto for Orchestra.

The buzz of the music emerged into the foyer after the concert, amidst smiles and enthusiastic chatter. I begged one of the musicians to play the Bartók again, but I suspect the wait will be long.

This was — by a street — the most brilliant performance I have heard at CBSO Centre.

0000a91c | 2016-02-06T11:12:07Z | music


battery went flat again during an extended period of inactivity; set to kitchen DAB time

0000a91d | 2016-03-13T12:06:00Z | photography g2_time_diff

Testing 1SV149 varactor diode

À la ‘Crystal Sets to Sideband’, Chapter 10, page 266, ‘Varactor Tuned VFO’. I just wanted to get to grips with some of my new components. The power supply here provides 9.23V. The 100K (87K) pot is followed by another 87K and then two varactors, only one of which is being measured. Here is 25pF at 9.23V. Turning the pot the other way, I measured 560pF.

0000a924.jpg | 2016-03-13T12:09:22Z | radio construction | photo

‘Notebook afternoon’ at Wetherspoon and Dog & Doublet

The title says ‘new entry’; I wonder if I will think of anything better.

There were about a dozen moments this afternoon which I would like to have jotted down in my notebook, but, since there had been no such afternoon in ages, I had once again left my notebook at home. Now I try to remember some of all that good stuff.

I might have had a tincture or two. Disingenuousness aside, I have imbibed at Wetherspoon pints of Thistly Cross and Enville Ginger, followed by halves of Hopback Entire Stout and Purple Moose Rio at the Dog and Doublet.

Well then. How much of this ‘notebook afternoon’ can I recall? Let me work backward.

Outside the Swan, the singer board had not been filled in, so advertised only ‘THURSDAY AUGUST SINGER’.

That’s enough going backward; it’s difficult.

My trip was to Sainsbury’s for yoghurt and Aldi for daal-making stuff and milk for Jessica. I felt quite weak today, so was unsurprised that I sought refreshment before returning home. The walk into town was something of a blur, let alone my memory of it.

... and now it’s 20:17 (local time), after another bowl of sardine smeg with spaghetti, this time watching Question of Sport, which featured Rhys Webb.

Yeah so anyway (!) I’ve been keeping a notebook for a few years. (The first entry seems to be 2009.) A quick inspection of my blog reveals two mentions. Apparently the book was initially used to feed my blog, but in recent years it has rather replaced it, accompanying me to Cardiff a few times and on many occasions coming out of my rucksack at Wetherspoon, as I took a break with halves while shopping.

As I recall, my habit of taking alternate sips from different halves began during my first Wetherspoon Cider Festival in 2014, when I would attempt to taste all the offerings over the three weeks, not just in Wolverhampton, but also during trips to Cardiff. There I introduced cousin Val to the festival, as she visited Gramps with unca Dave. One evening. we formed a table for six (with Chris and Clive) in the big room at the Neu Bev, where we dined. Gramps looked quite radiant. Val’s favourite cider was Thistly Cross Whisky Cask.

Two other things I remember from those first experiences of Wetherspoon Wolverhampton: seeing Charlotte behind the left-hand bar and some punter addressing her as “little ’un”; and taking Pa for his first try of the festival and standing with him by the pillar to the right of the bar, where we read about a local WW2 plane called the Defiant and perhaps had our first taste of beetroot cider!

Anyway, when the end of that 2014 festival came to an end, there was still a load of left-over cider to get through. Even when it was all gone, I still bought pairs of halves, but now with real ale instead of cider, disappearing to a small table at the back of the pub to make notes about anything that popped into my head. I carried on doing that until late last year, when an iron infusion banished my thirst.

An extreme case of disposing of festival left-overs was evident at the Square Peg in Birmingham, where I tasted some rather keen beetroot cider in December.

It seems that this year’s festival left no residue at Wetherspoon Wolverhampton, while the Neu Bev’s rightmost fridge was still replete on the evening after Gramps’ funeral.

Lately, I have chosen to drink cider before beer, because it seems to have had less impact on my health. At Wetherspoon today, I spotted Enville Ginger, but kept on walking, until I spotted the cider boxes in the fridge (the left-hand one, where the cider festival had taken place). When I asked Polly which the ciders were, she rolled her sleeves up and spent some time creating enough gap between wood and cardboard to be able to make out the print on the label. I acknowledged her effort, which gave her a smile. I see I have already mentioned my selections above, the first of which was served by Polly.

Finding no comfortable drinking place in the back or the middle of the pub, I positioned myself oddly under the clock, with a view of both bars. Polly was joined behind the bar by at least three fellas. I had never seen such a glut of service at Wetherspoon. While my pint of Ginger was being pulled, I was asked by two other barmen whether I was being served. Again, this might have been a first. (That and the presence of Enville Ginger makes two things; I think I had attempted to retain one or two more, for Ma and Pa’s benefit.)

A couple of men drank by the main bank of guest handpumps. As I was about to leave, I attempted to check those pumps for interesting beers; the rightmost was Titanic Plum Porter. The nearest man said that his companion was drinking Plum Porter; as he did so, another barman or two attempted to serve me, which prompted me to share the joke with this fellow customer. “It’s like the buses,” he said. “They all come when you don’t want ‘em.”

I still think I’m missing something about my Wetherspoon visit, but at least now I have recalled the man with the dicky bow, who blustered his way to a pint of Titanic Iceberg and retired to one of the right-hand, two-seat tables to consume it. He reminded me a little of the teacher that Peter Griffin liberates from his medication.

At the Dog & Doublet, I took the spare seat at the bar, next to a quiet young man who understood my reference when the table of two girls on the other side of the room made a noise that reminded me of the Ewok pillow fight in the ‘Return of the Jedi’ episode of Family Guy. Later, I asked barmaid Jodie what she made of Jack’s singing voice. I had heard it for the first time (and been quite impressed) on Tuesday, when Jack had sung along to a phrase of some early-80s classic in a low tenor, with me and Bryan his audience. His voice seems to have a lot of presence. Anyway, Jodie said that once, when they used to play Jack’s iPod through the sound system, she had heard the start of a new song and then been amazed that it was actually not a track but Jack.

Well, that’s enough for now. I’m tired, but happy to have had my first notebook afternoon in a while.

0000a927 | 2016-08-26T18:12:47Z

Beneficial dreaming about a family meal

When I was fitter and an enthusiastic blogger, I used to go on about dreams a lot. Today, after a rare late sleep, I am encouraged to do so again.

I woke, rose, pissed, returned and dozed. The next time I woke, I had been experiencing one of those dreams that somehow turns into a TV ad. The clarity was wonderful. I was in a bungalow. Some natural light entered through the back, but I was deep within the building.

Now it occurs to me that the place feels a bit like the large dining room at the Bell at Trysull.

I found myself looking through the glass of a cafeteria service, behind which were well-lit buns with white icing and a cherry on top. Some of the buns were high up, some lower; something else might have been down below in trays.

My view panned up and over the glass. (Perhaps this is where a voice-over entered with music.) A dining table, set for eight or more, stretched away toward the kitchen. Happy children were already seated while grown-ups went about with bottles of wine and whatever else needed to be done before the meal could begin. I watched only briefly — it was almost a snapshot — but I felt such a sense of well-being that did not leave me once awake.

This scene is very different from our meal last Sunday at the Bell — for one thing, the kids did not use smartphones in the dream — but the feel of the place and the young family rings true.

0000a928 | 2016-08-29T15:25:39Z | dreams

Tidy room

I have tidied my old bedroom for the first time in years; gone through all my stuff, chucking out, and arranging the rest in stacked storage containers.

I set about this task after returning from Cardiff after Gramps’ funeral. I had come back with old photographs and stuff and discovered that I had nowhere to put anything any more, let alone something as significant as Gran’s old kitchen scales. After years of anaemic neglect, my room had become hopelessly cluttered with old food boxes, radio wires and dust.

Perhaps another incentive for this task was a mixture of the death in the family and my own poor health. Perhaps I don’t want to die and leave people with unnecessary work.

Anyway, today’s blogging suggests that maybe this room-tidying has somehow freed me.

Oh, and I found some money. Awesome.

0000a929 | 2016-08-29T16:23:13Z

Break break

Listening to the LO WebSDR in California today, I heard someone call into a net with ‘break break’. He was allowed in immediately and then educated that the double-break is reserved for emergencies. His excuse was that he is relatively-newly licensed (2013), but I have no excuse! I never knew.

0000a92a | 2016-08-29T16:46:49Z | radio

Unexpected smile

Lots of things happened today, mostly shopping and meeting Ma and Jess for scran at Wetherspoon. I could try to recall some details, but it’s late and I’m tired.

I walked home, to deliver some of my purged CDs to the Dog & Doublet. As I was about to cross Riches Street, the lights changed and a dark little car filtered right from Halfway House. I gave way and gave a smile. The head-scarved lady driver gave me a wave and a big smile back. She was young and dusky and might have just given me the loveliest moment of my day or week or year, full of warmth and humanity — a great reward for being a well-meaning road user.

Before I stop... I have just remembered the Rum Shack at Wetherspoon. Several members of staff were in fancy dress, under a strange stall, between the front door and the toilets. The funny thing is that, despite the darkness of the pub’s interior, this new structure was not at all lit. At first glance, I could hardly make out the staff’s faces, let alone work out what the promotion was supposed to be.

0000a92b | 2016-09-07T21:23:34Z | beauty

Gran dream (after other interesting stuff)

An early piss this morning provided conditions conducive to dreaming.

Early on, I recall some of my immediate family using an office with computer equipment from the 1980s. The room was smallish, L-shaped and white. The wall with a window behind me reminds me now of Jo’s utility room. The room also suggests a Swedish apartment block and the Alway House boiler room.

We also spent some time in a bar, again old-fashioned, perhaps up north. The bar was high and chunky, overlooking a spartan front room of medium size. The place was bright enough, but without much colour. We examined a hand-pump that seemed to be out of order. The drive shaft, as it were, was exposed on our side of the bar.

I suppose these dreams were all a bit retro.

I cannot deduce the origin of the whole pub dream, though I can place the drive shaft in a piece of Coast’s Great Guide on television yesterday. They were replaying a previous visit to a tin mine, which had used a steam engine to pump water out of the shaft.

The 80s computers might have been inspired by my playing the Speech episode of the IT Crowd last evening, for Jessica who had not seen the show and Ma and Pa who had.

The last image from my final dream was of Gran becoming agitated and breaking away from me. I think we had been dancing. At this final moment, I was between the middle of the dining room and the door to the kitchen, facing the latter. I had begun to cry, saying that since she had died, I had died too. (which is something I have thought while awake) This apparently shocked her and prompted her agitation.

I think Gramps had been around in the dream too; I don’t know who else; I think he departed through the other door before this final sequence.

Perhaps this was the Gran of the early 1990s. It was good to be with her. I could smell the marzipan on her clothes.

In the old days, Gran did not know how I arrived at the idea that her laundry smelled of marzipan; perhaps she used to laugh about it.

When Lisa began to take care of Gramps’ laundry, the marzipan was replaced by something altogether too high-powered and modern. Unable to bear lying on bedsheets in this condition, I dug deep in the airing cupboard for the last of Gran’s own laundry. That was a year or two ago, since when I have kept those nostalgic sheets between visits in a bag of computer accessories. Luckily, they still smell more of laundry than of me.

0000a932 | 2016-09-23T10:46:28Z | beauty, brenda, dreams, trevor

Strong women & humour at the checkout

At the Aldi checkout on Friday, I was preceded by a dark-haired foreigner and her strong little girl, perhaps about ten years old. I could not place their language.

The girl wore a blue school jumper over a hefty torso. When she placed a dividing bar behind their shopping, she looked at me for a response. I obliged with a ‘thank you’ that was strong like she was. I got no sense that she might be overweight; she just had a big engine. She seemed very assured and alive, which made me feel assured and alive.

Sophie at the Dog & Doublet is another who seems to have a big engine; her predecessor Rachel too, though without the same assurance.

Perhaps my anaemia makes me appreciate these strong people more.

One more Aldi story, from a few weeks ago... Again at the checkout, the customer in front of me (who in my memory seems like Colin’s daughter Caroline) was packing an impressively healthy-looking array of goods. I saw the little girl sitting in her trolley and thought to myself “isn’t she lucky?” And then she spoke. “Where are the Mini Cheddars, mummy?” I could not help saying to the woman, “the healthy stuff’s for you then,” which made her laugh out loud.

0000a933 | 2016-09-25T07:17:15Z | beauty

Polly lookalike

While watching ‘How to be Sherlock Holmes’ on BBC Four last week, something about PD James reminded me of Polly at The Moon Under Water, Wolverhampton. Pa could see what I mean.

0000a934 | 2016-09-25T14:05:00Z

Testing old PCI cards in Gramps’ PC

Yesterday afternoon, I measured the power consumption of Gramps’ PC with and without my old video capture and audio cards. For each configuration, I tested two states: a quiescent LXDE session and Audacity playing a sine wave on a loop.

With no cards, the quiescent state consumed 51 watts; the sine wave consumed 61.

The vidcap card added about 5 W in each state. I unplugged that but left it in the case.

The Audigy card seemed to add about 2 W at rest and about 5 W while playing a sine wave. The addition of the Audigy drive added 2-3 W to each state.

Having rescued these cards, perhaps I can dump the old PCs.

0000a935 | 2016-10-22T08:15:27Z | computer

Ciders at the Harrows

I think I woke early on my birthday and worked out a walk along the canal to the Harrows. Ma and Jess were not up to it, so it was just Pa and I. We had a jolly good time. Pa drank beers and I ciders. The Wales v Japan game appeared on the television above the piano; that was fun. Ma and Jess collected us and drove us into town, where we all (maybe even Ma) had a jolly good time at Jivan’s.

0000a945.jpg | 2016-11-19T15:38:02Z | photo

Camp Christmas card from uncle John

A serious stag made funny by baubles and glitter. I thought it should be elevated from the crowd of cards on the piano to Ma's vase of festive twigs. John’s Christmas cards usually make me smile or in this case laugh.

0000a946.jpg | 2016-12-24T11:27:20Z | photo

How to stack logs sturdily

I have always had trouble with log piles collapsing at the ends. This time, I tried a new approach. It seems to have worked well.

In the past, depending on circumstances, I have either shifted logs from the drive on one day and stacked them on another or else done everything in one go. The timings for the usual 3 cubic metres of logs have been 1.5 hours for the shifting and 2.25 hours for the stacking.

Previous methods have involved a lot of selection, e.g. long, thick logs to use as a base. That selection took time. On this most recent occasion, I grabbed whatever logs were handy and then stacked the regular, triangular ones at the ends and the irregular ones elsewhere; it took less than 3.5 hours, including a few chats with Gordon (and his log man!) and sweeping, and rearranging the furniture.

As this photo shows, I forgot to create ‘ends’ around the lime tree, which later prevented my attempts to divert the tarpaulin around it. I yanked out a few logs (without collapse) and managed to get the tarpaulin only a few logs from the bottom of the tree.

This photograph seems to have been taken at almost exactly the 3-hour point, since I had started at around 13:40. It is a 15-second exposure (my camera’s maximum), focus set to infinity, the chassis resting on the green table, which I had dragged right up to the step at the side of the house. I suppose the blurring is due to a slight wobble of the table.

0000a949.jpg | 2017-01-05T16:39:24Z | photo

Log-related humour & Llandeilo memories

As I washed up after yesterday’s breakfast, I mentioned to Pa that I had turned my log photo into a somewhat-informative blog entry. He responded that I should sell my talents online. I soon came up with a good name for the business — “Crackin’ Stackin’” — which would probably sell well in Wales, but might seem rather obscure in this part of the world.

By the way, in recent years, Pa told me that the name of one log supplier near the cottage was ‘Certainly Wood’, which would make us laugh not for the shaky pun itself, but for the echo of ‘Mrs Certainly’, once a butcher in Llandeilo. We used to laugh with Steve and Marian about Mrs Certainly responding to each requested food item with a typically florid, Carmarthenshire ‘cerrrtainlya’.

Anyway, as for a good name for a log-stacking business in the West Midlands, I could not conceive a catchy, local alternative to “Crackin’ Stackin’”, but eventually got another laugh with ‘Perfect Piles’.

0000a94a | 2017-01-11T10:27:27Z

Dream with Huw & Chris

Lately, I have been waking at inconvenient times. This morning, it was 4-something.

I do not retain much from dreams these days, neither images nor that most welcome sense of having been somewhere else. However, this morning, the alarming nature of my dreamy predicament ensured that I woke quite aware of where I had been.

First, I can picture sitting at a table with Huw on my side and Chris on the other (which reminds me of sitting upstairs at Central Bar when we all met up a couple of years ago). The table is one of many, in a very plain, very open room with many windows. The room seems much higher than most if not all of the surrounding buildings. It might be a cafeteria, though there is hardly anything or anyone else to give more of a clue, except for the many tables and chairs. The spartan nature of the room brings to mind mess halls, such as those at Crickhowell and St Martin’s Plain.

We are drinking beer.

And then for some reason we are on the outside of the windows and descending what feels like the north side of the building. It seems that our cafeteria had been on the top floor. Our means of adhering to the brick walls is a strange network of uncomfortably flexible, brown plastic pipes, like water pipes but too numerous to be real. A little way down appears to be a partially-enclosed ladder made from a wider version of the same brown pipe. We climb in its direction and then I suppose I wake.

Despite the height at which I found myself at the end of that dream, my little adventure left my waking heart with a lasting sense of peace.

(Having given some thought to a possible meaning of this dream, I am surprised that it has taken me so long to remember this: I decided last Friday that I should give up alcohol, since I am rather anaemic and liable to feel a bit wobbly even when sober.)

0000a94d | 2017-01-16T16:08:55Z | dreams

River dream

Another inconvenient waking this morning — 04:23 or so — following by hours of just lying there. Pa’s old mobile phone sounded a ‘low battery’ warning from time to time, which did not help. Anyway, I had another dreamscape to occupy my mind.

In this dream, I am fishing on a river. Or am I in it? As usual, the scene is somewhat monochromatic, but idyllic, with a suggestion of golden-brown; it is heavenly. The waters ahead of me are almost still; I cannot be sure whether they are coming or going. The river is lined on both sides with continuous trees, about 20 feet high, on perfectly-sloping banks. Somehow, I think I am up north.

(I cannot see him in that view I have remembered so well, but I think I have a companion and I think it is Matt Hayes, from all those fishing shows I watch.)

Now I am adjusting my rig, and then catching one or two fish. Certainly I remember the one fish: about 10 centimetres long and just as deep; narrow; transparent at the front and mirrored at the back; a cute little thing. I suppose I returned it.

When my next sleep was nearly at an end, I dreamed again.

This time, I am in an English village on a sunny day. I am unsure who is with me and what we have been doing, but we exit the front door of a sweet, red-brick house and are soon at the arcing mouth of a wide, open cave, on the side of what I suppose is no more than a hillock. My other companions are nearby, but the only one in view is a boy in dark clothes, including shorts. He is somewhat within the cave, off to the right. To the left of my view is an area of shade and bright sun, fields and paths, like the sort of place Gran and Gramps used to take us to, when we were little; Cheddar Gorge, perhaps.

What a privilege to have spent time in such sweet places.

(The timing of this dream is interesting, since this is the day that Ma and Pa have decided to take me to a place by a brook.)

0000a94e | 2017-01-17T14:07:05Z | dreams

Last Christmas

I had not thought to write up our Christmas, but there is one thing I especially want to record. It occurred in the early afternoon of Christmas Day, while Ma and Pa were preparing a tremendous turkey dinner.

I suppose I had played through the old Christ College choir carols once or twice, on the music box in the kitchen, before scanning the other contents of my memory card. The announcer’s introduction to the Schumann Konzertstück came up and I let it play. (...) Now that I think about it, that might have happened the day before, because the piece that I definitely let play on this occasion was the Sibelius Violin Concerto. Pa congratulated me on my selection and we both thoroughly enjoyed the old Ida Haendel performance from my old Sibelius compilation disc. (...) Now that I think about it again, I think it was dark outside during that performance, so perhaps that was the one that happened on Christmas Eve.

Anyway, my favourite gift on Christmas Day was Ma and Pa allowing me (making hardly any fuss) to listen right through Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. I sat on the chaise longue (with a glass of champagne, I think) and laughed and cried at that wonderful piece by my favourite composer. I had not felt such joy in ages.

(Had I been really selfish, I might have gone on to play Rachmaninov’s Isle of the Dead (or tried to), but that would not be very Christmassy, would it?)

Perhaps it was later that day that we watched what we call ‘Christmas William’, a.k.a. ‘William Turns Over a New Leaf’. That did not raise as much cheer as usual until late in the piece, when there is a crescendo of comedy toward the wonderful climax and ending. I laughed and laughed. More joy then, not long after the joy of Bartók. Such gifts!

0000a94f | 2017-01-18T13:31:29Z

Girls in tight spaces

Here is another dream segment, from this morning at about 04:30Z.

I am going up and down between floors with a pretty blonde. I think she is a waitress. Our means of going up and down are black staircases — some spiral, some square — but they are very narrow, set in very narrow, circular holes in the floors of bright wood. The holes are almost unnavigable, but somehow the waitress and I are negotiating each hole together. It is fun. Perhaps a waiter is doing it too.

Because of the tight staircases and lack of windows, the room on which we are currently standing seems quite claustrophobic. It is bright, but somehow hazy. At one table of rich young people, a model catches my eye. She wears dark gems around her eyes and back toward her ears; they give the impression of a mask, perhaps in the style of some elegant water bird. I expect these rather remote souls to pour scorn on our simple game of squeezing between floors, but I am relieved that the model’s stare is almost blank, though slightly aloof and possibly suppressed by drugs.

I am unsure of the setting for all this, but I think that there are windows upstairs, perhaps overlooking a city in the Netherlands or the deck of a ship. It is a pleasing place.

As for meaning, while I cannot be sure of the significance or identity of the waitress, I think perhaps we are navigating the metaphorical strictures in my small intestine.

0000a950 | 2017-01-28T11:52:37Z | dreams, health crohn’s disease

Gran dream snippet

Today is Tuesday. Early on Saturday morning, I woke out of the first Gran dream I have retained in a while. I had been in the hall at their place. Hearing Gran’s voice in the sitting room, I suddenly became conscious and sought her out. Several people stood around, with Gran kneeling in front of where the sofa would be, her back to the door through which I had just entered. I seized my opportunity to hug her and say, ‘I love you’; she reciprocated. I was glad of the experience, but it was not a patch on being alive with her. I may be sick and spiritless these days, but — thank God — not as poor a creature as Gran appeared here.

0000a951 | 2017-02-07T12:10:19Z | brenda, dreams

Horrid microwave mast at Newbridge

The landscape might have been not the prettiest before the mast, but it was better than it is now. I wonder how many people would have been horrified by this if they were not staring at a screen, watching someone else’s reality.

0000a9f6.jpg | 2017-02-10T11:02:00Z | shitlist | photo

Mysterious band change, sleepy SWL and dream girl

I was woken very early this morning by my little Roberts receiver, which had somehow been switched on (sleep mode would usually have switched it off) and somehow set to the FM band, though before sleeping I had been listening to Medium Wave. That was very strange. At least the dial was approximately where it had been, now tuned to Classic FM. The music, which repeatedly featured a cadence from ‘Nessun Dorma’, was revealed to be John Williams’ score for ‘Born of the Fourth of July’.

The mystery of the self-activating radio prevented me from going straight back to sleep, so I tried the shortwaves. At about 03:45Z, I caught the end of Arnie Coro on Radio Habana Cuba. The frequency was roughly 6 MHz. (Now that I look up their frequency schedule (, I see that it would have been exactly 6000 kHz.) And then I tuned lower and found Radio Romania International, which seems almost as ubiquitous as China, but also Radio Turkey, which I listened to for a while.

The morning before, I had woken out of a sweet dream. It was sweet because a girl had liked me. Let me see if I can picture it...

I am in some sort of café. The entrance is behind me and the room stretches narrowly before me. To my left is a long window with a road running outside and people queueing inside. At the head of the queue is a till, operated by a girl. I do not remember much about her, but she might be blonde. And then her friend emerges from a door some distance behind the till and is soon before me, smiling. At some point, her name is spoken. [I think it was Alina Bogda...[several syllables].] Her face has many red spots but is quite pretty. One of her lower incisors is angled back into her mouth. Her eyes are well-spread, with tan skin and hair of a sunny brown. Perhaps she is Bulgarian. Perhaps we are even in her native country. Anyway, there is a deep, serene beauty within her and I wake feeling happy.

0000a952 | 2017-02-22T09:02:36Z | beauty, dreams, radio swl, spooky

Indian babe conducts my first ever sight test

Three weeks ago, I had my third iron infusion, the second being last May and the first the previous November. I have been feeling more energetic for about a week, but still wake feeling rough; my other symptoms are still with me. This recovery seems slower than the previous ones.

Yesterday morning, I felt both rough and less energetic. For the second time since my infusion, I noticed that my small intestine must have bled. However, when it was time to go into town for my first sight test, I declined offers of lifts; despite feeling low, I knew that I had more than enough stuff to get me to town and back.

I picked up a few things at Aldi and then went to attend my first ever sight test. (I think I had had no such test as a child; certainly never since.)

The optometrist was a pint-sized Indian honey who made the process a treat. First there was some chat about my background; then she shone lights into my eyes to determine their health; finally, she checked whether I needed glasses.

Her manner while she performed the tests was at once relaxing and stimulating; cool, yet strict and purposeful; all the better for being up close.

As she returned me to the front of the store, I smiled and said, “Thank you. That was cool.” What I declined to mention is that it was also HOT! Ha-ha!

I browsed some frames for a while, but decided to leave my final selection until another day, mostly because I hadn’t enough money. (I suppose I did have enough money for one pair, but I also fancied a pint on the way home.)

The professional intimacy of that sight test reminds me of Charlotte at the Moon Under Water, a year or two ago. I was propping up the bar alone, when a well-meaning diner returned his two dirty plates, leaving them on the bar beside me. He walked away and then Charlotte collected the plates, saying under her breath, “Stupid people.” It was a treat.

At the Dog & Doublet, Jodie asked whether I had saved any more bees since liberating a honey bee on my previous visit. I had not seen another bee, so I said that I had saved a few slugs and woodlice and things. And then I spotted John and Tom at the end of the bar. Tom was distraught at the Wales-Ireland result last Friday evening, but at least we had other fond rugby memories to chat about. John was rather sidelined by the torrent of our discussion, saying, “If only you were into Formula 1.” We gave some airtime to his choice of subject and then we disbanded; Tom first; then I left, leaving John to avail himself of the smoking yard. My pints had been Stout and Abbeydale Cattle Prod.

0000a956 | 2017-03-14T09:56:27Z | beauty, health anaemia, health crohn’s disease

Agricultural figurine and shadow at dawn

(in the sitting room fireplace)

Gran and Gramps used to have these figurines — one man, one woman — on the sideboard in their dining room. They seemed to represent Gran and Gramps even then; now that Gran and Gramps are gone, they certainly do.

0000a974.jpg | 2017-03-26T06:30:20Z | brenda, trevor | photo

Enthusiastic about outdoor QRP

My health is pretty atrocious at the moment. I have been running out of steam for years, but this is different; since my latest iron infusion, the symptoms of my anaemia will not clear. I am stronger than before the infusion, but I feel like a zombie.

For years, my enthusiasm has come in flashes; any hope of turning enthusiasm into achievement has been thwarted by lack of energy. And now, while I might be able to apply myself to a task for a few hours, then I must rest. However, I remain grateful for the rare moments of enthusiasm that give me hope.

My latest enthusiasm revisits others from recent (and not-so recent) years. In 2011, it was my pleasure to fly kite antennas. In early 2015, I tried again, inspired by Cris IZ3CQI. I had heard his Morse code on the air, looked him up at ‘’ ( and established contact by e-mail. His ethos of humble, minimalist radio construction was quite compelling; so much so that I embarked upon my first electronics project, to build a portable qrp rig. I did not get far with that, due to aforementioned fatigue and confusion regarding the project’s scope.

Now that spring is in the air and I have encountered Stan UA3LMR (by the same means as I had been led to Cris), my fancy for building a simple radio has been rekindled. When I heard Stan’s Morse code, he was mentioning to his contact that his QTH was the ‘forest wild’. His ‘’ page linked to a site called ‘’, which features him and other bloggers getting into the middle of nowhere with lightweight radio gear (albeit not home-made). The thought of doing such bare-bones radio in such sweet places is beautiful to me, perhaps as the old cadet force field competition used to be.

Yes, I am grateful for these hopeful moments. Whether there will be enough ‘go’ in me to make something of them is another matter.

0000a957 | 2017-04-27T13:03:23Z | health anaemia, health crohn’s disease, radio construction, radio qrp

Damn. I did not check the difference before resetting. Anyway, I used the DAB time on the Roberts in the kitchen.

0000a958 | 2017-06-15T13:06:00Z | photography g2_time_diff

Precision power supply for regenerodyne

In the background, the schematic out of ‘Crystal Sets to Sideband’ by Frank Harris.

Something had convinced me to procure the 2.5 volt version of LM336-5.0, so that is one difference in my implementation, along with 1 kilohm resistors instead of 1.2 K and 680 ohms. (My choice of 1 K was simply ‘third time lucky’.)

Apart from a little potentiometer-trimming, this circuit worked fine first time, which was a relief, since it is my first. I was so pleased that I must take a photograph.

6 volts is the output, which is what my regenerodyne schematic asks for.

I had thought to use the rest of this board for my audio circuit, but since I think I have a little spare room in the enclosure, I will give the audio its own board and leave the remaining space on this board free for a voltage doubler or whatever else might crop up.

0000a975.jpg | 2017-06-15T13:11:32Z | radio construction regenerodyne | photo
matthew munro, g0vbc, still photograph