All posts by jennyb

Nissan Leaf – my journey to work

I purchased a 2014 Nissan Leaf in the summer of 2016 and her first major trial was the journey from Newmarket ( home ) to Baldock (work), just over 30 miles either way.

The rated endurance is 80-100miles, and I quickly learnt the factors that affect this :

  • Temperature: the battery seems to lose capacity in the cold
  • Speed: slow speed = more endurance = upset drivers behind me
  • Drag: I have a single roof bar and  antennas
  • Heater: this also uses a good proportion of your battery
  • Aircon: as above

So, in the winter I am restricted to 55 mph especially as I have no access to a charging point at work. When the temperature was hovering around zero, getting home with the recommended minimum of 20% in the batteries was marginal even at slow speeds without the heater on. 5% was regular.

Its now spring with temperatures around 12 degrees C,  I can go faster and have the heater on. Assuming I am starting from a full overnight charge of 100%, here is a map of the battery depletion.


So, 40% there and 40% home. Its works easily in the summer, but is a struggle in the winter.

Accurate timekeeping on Windows 10 for wspr

So, I’ve upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 and so far, after a few months, I’m still impressed. Possibly a faster start, device manager available by left-click of the start button, and less crashes. My only complaint was a reset_for_updates a short way into carving on the CNC Router ruining the job.

Anyway, after aquiring an Elad RDM DUO 5w HF Transceiver, I have been wanting to try JT65 and WSPR. Lots of messing about later ( I must blog this ) and I have WSJTX working in a scanning WSPR mode from 473kHz up to 50MHz.

However, the successful RX messages stop after a day and I realise that the PC clock has drifted by a few seconds and the windows time update settings are too long. A quick google and here is the answer :

  1. Bring up regedit
  2.  Navigate to  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClient
  3. Change the DWORD SpecialPollInterval ( I set mine to 3600 decimal  seconds )
  4. Reboot I guess

This involves changing your registry. Please only do this if you know what you are doing. Changing the wrong key could break your PC.

Getting the Fun Cube Dongle Pro Plus to work on a Raspberry Pi

I wanted to be able to read the RSSI and plot the result using munin, mostly for creating a strip-chart type graph for calibrating my radio telescope. I found 3 applications that should work with the FCD pro plus and Raspberry Pi  V2:

  • Hamlib
  • fcdctl
  • carpcom-fcd


When failing to get some of the software options below going, I did try using a better 5v usb PSU, and a shorter, thicker PSU cable. I noted that the rpi did not like to boot up with the FCD installed, and plugging it in caused the red rpi power light to momentarily dim ( without resetting the rpi )


I installed hamlib using aptitude.

jennyb@raspberrypi ~/carpcomm $ sudo rigctl -m 2513 -r /dev/FCDPP -v
rig_open: error = IO error

( I tried a number of things but eventually gave up )


I built fcdctl  using :

gcc fcd.c hid-libusb.c main.c `pkg-config –libs –cflags libusb-1.0` -D FCDPP -o fcdctl -Wall -lrt -lpthread

This is the output :

jennyb@raspberrypi ~/fcdcontrol-proplus-srv $ sudo ./fcdctl -s
[sudo] password for jennyb:
FCD present in application mode.
FCD firmware version: 20.03.
FCD frequency: 43.750500 MHz.
FCD LNA gain: enabled.


sudo carpsd-fcd –device 0 –set_freq_hz 43750500
[sudo] password for jennyb:
Frequency [Hz]: 43750500


Windows default route and Metrics

I have a windows laptop that I am using for remote debugging. The scenario is that an Engineer takes this laptop to a remote site and starts up the 3G connection and teamviewer. I get remote control of the PC via 3G/Teamviewer and then the remote Engineer plugs the laptop into the equipment so that I can debug.configure it.

The problem is that the default windows settings will prefer the ethernet connection to the 3G connection despite the fact that the ethernet connection does not lead to the internet. Therefore when the ethernet cable is plugged in, we lose the connection.

It is possible to overide the Windows default metrics as follows :
[Windows 7]

1) Open Network and Sharing Centre
2) Change adaptor settings
3) Right Click on Local Area Connection settings
4) Open properties of Internet Protocol Version 4 ( TCP/IPv4 )
5) Select ‘Advanced’
6) At the bottom of the dialog box untick ‘Automatic Metric’ and enter a higher metric manually ( 50 )

To confirm the metric numbers for each interface, open a DOS box ( command box ) and type route PRINT. Metric is the last column. Adjust the metrics up or down relative to each other to change the dynamic routing.

The Liberal Democrats, coalition and saving the Pound

We have just had the 2014 Council and 2014 EU Election results. Many hardworking Liberal Democrat Councillors have lost their seats, this must be hard. Very much like the many hardworking Labour Councillors losing their seats over a War they did not agree with. I feel for them too.

Let me try to explain why ‘I agree with Nick’, we should not have a leadership election, and coalition was the right thing to do.
In 2010, the UK was in recession, the confidence in the pound was marginal and Greece was possibly going to leave the Eurozone with consequences for Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy. The UK needed a Government that gave confidence that the Economy was in good hands.

My preference was that it would be a Liberal Democrat government, but with only 23% of the vote, this was not going to happen. There were the options :
1) Minority Government – No budget would be agreed. The £ would become targeted by the currency markets and it would go down. We lose the NHS, Welfare State. Bad
2) LibDem coalition with Labour – No financial credibility. The Labour Parliamentary Party might be well intentioned, but apparently incompetent.
3) Re-run the Election. Conservatives would get a majority. Good for the City, bad for the UK

So, the least worst option was a LibDem coalition with Conservatives. This saved the pound and protected services to the vulnerable at the cost of the Party. Yes, it was worth it but the apparent lurch of the LibDem Parliamentary party ( with notable exceptions ) towards the hard right disillusioned many voters and activists. “I’ll never trust them again” is the cost.

The logical response is that the LibDems have stopped the worst excesses of the Conservative Party, but as a minority in the coalition, this is limited. Again, this was worth losing the Party for. The emotional response is that the LibDems were trusted with people’s vote and abused it just to get power.

The Coalition was mismanaged in my opinion. Instead of voting along with the Conservatives and trying to spin this as positive, the LibDem MPs should have been honest about how terrible some of the policies were for, but being in a Coalition, this was the price. Compromise.

So, where should the Liberal Democrats go from here.

Be honest. The Coalition was a necessary compromise. The party will fight the 2015 election with Nick as leader and state what it would do if it got a majority. It probably won’t go well, they need to be honest about that was well. Once the General Election is over, elect a new leadership from the left of the party. Try to rebuild the party as the honest party. It will take a generation to get trust back, but I’d love to have a party that I can trust again.

So, personally I am now conflicted. My friends are in the Liberal Democrats, but when I examine policies, I should be voting Green. When knocking on doors, I used to be frustrated with people who voted out of loyalty rather than policies. Now I am one of them. Damn.

Raspberry Pi and gpsd ( getting around startup bug )

I need location information for one of my Raspberry Pi devices. I have a USB GPS receiver that appears on /dev/ttyUSB0. To verify the hardware operation, I installed minicom

sudo apt-get install minicom

sudo minicom -s

Then set the port to /dev/ttyUSB0, port parameters to 4800 N8! with no flow control. You should then be able to see NMEA sentences

Once we have proved that the hardware is working, install gpsd.

sudo apt-get install gpsd

sudo dpkg-reconfigure gpsd to set the serial port

Then you have to manually edit the /etc/default/gpsd file and remove /dev/ttyUSB0 from the DEVICES and put it into GPSD_OPTIONS field.

sudo reboot

Once running, you should be able to run cgps -s to see gpsd responding with valid location information.

Installing WordPress

Well, it has been a bit of a bumpy ride for no good reason. Jennifer and I have decided to move our web presence over to wordpress from plain old html/css. To be honest, none of our web pages have been updated for ages. Install WP on our new Ubuntu server ( a VM hosted at Mythic Beasts ) seemed a good and easy idea. I wanted to go with the Ubuntu apt-get install default installation as it should be tried , tested and stable especially using Unbuntu 12.04.

We could not get images uploaded and displayed. I might be the htacces file, misconfiguration in the settings, permissions. We tried a lot of things including upgrading to 14.04LTS.

Jennifer has managed to get WP to display uploaded images using symlinks, but this is not the solution. We have a few other options to try :
1) apt-get remove? wordpress, then install the latest from source from the WP site.
2) hack permalinks. It might help.
3) ask on the WP formums ( there are currently a lot of questions like this )