Whispers & Screams
And Other Things
Vastly experienced, versatile senior technical asset with a broad range of highly evolved skills from team building to high-level technology solution implementations. A courageous and tenacious leader with proven experience in business development, organisational visioning, cutting edge information technology deployments, and as a senior management liaison. Experienced at working at all levels from Start-up to Corporate, I thrive on change and take the lead to engage and drive the engineering landscape in any business An outgoing personality, with high energy levels who is customer focused but understands the need for a structured approach to business. A mature and collaborative style provides excellent communication and presentation skills and, drawing on past experience, gives the credibility to build trust. A strategic thinker, who is innovative and creative and makes technically 'savvy' decisions and encourages others to do so, whilst totally focused on success and how this drives results.

Incandescent Bulbs

For years now we've been hearing the reports that the days of the incandescent light bulb are numbered. In actual fact they may have already got to zero as it is almost impossible to get hold of these old style bulbs for love nor money.

Its yet another front in the constant battle between the freedom for individuals to choose and the "nanny state knows best" attitude that seems forever present from certain sections of society.

Those of us, (and there are many), who dont particularly enjoy the thought of spending the rest of their lives in dimly lit dingy rooms lit badly by low energy fluorescent bulbs have no option but to grin and bear it as the rules slowly change the world and what we are allowed to do in it.

Or do we? It would appear that sales of multiple spotlight style bulb fixtures have taken on a life of their own in recent years. I myself use them in almost every room in my house now and the wattage when aggregated together can supply the bright light we used to associate with our 100 or 150 W bulbs. So it would seem there is a solution for us and a way around the poorly thought out and imposed from on high regulations which the climate fundamentalists have been allowed to push through.

I just wonder though if they really thought before the rule change was implemented. After all in the language of the climate fundamentalist, everything comes down to carbon. The carbon used to manufacture all of these elaborate multi-bulb light fixtures as well as the electricity consumed by 4 of the 60W spotlight bulbs surely has to be more than that consumed by a single 100W bulb as would have been used beforehand. Their crazy logic has forced those of us who don't particularly want to live our evenings in dingy rooms to consume far more energy and use up far more carbon that we did before. Yet another example of the climate fundamentalists need to throw themselves shrieking headlong into every half baked initiative but failing spectacularly and doing exactly the opposite of what was intended.
Continue reading
648 Hits
2 Comments

Satellite Antenna Pointing Line Of Sight Obstruction Calculator

It is important to have a clear line of sight between the antenna and the satellite.

In the latitudes of the planet closer to the poles, the lower antenna elevation angles required increase the likelihood of obstructions on the ground coming between the antenna and the satellite. The calculator below displays the distance the antenna needs to be from a potential obstruction in order to ensure a clear line of sight for a given elevation.


This tool can be used for all obstacles from trees near a house to mountains in the distance.




if(isset($_POST['act'])
&& !empty($_POST['z1'])
&& !empty($_POST['z2'])
&& is_numeric($_POST['z1'])
&& is_numeric($_POST['z2']))
{
if($_POST['act'] == 'sub')
{
$calc = ($_POST['z1']/tan(deg2rad($_POST['z2'])));
$op = '-';
}
if($_POST['act'] == 'add')
{
$calc = ($_POST['z1']/tan(deg2rad($_POST['z2'])));
$op = '-';
}
echo '

The antenna will need to be '.$calc.' metres from the obstacle.


Go back and carry out another calculation.

';

}else{
echo '

Select the appropriate satellite you will be using:





Please enter the height of the obstacle above the level of the antenna in metres -


Please enter the elevation angle in degrees for the satellite in use -


';
}

?>
Continue reading
630 Hits
0 Comments

Name that tune

namethattune
Continue reading
802 Hits
1 Comment

Understanding Polarisation

There are two major types of polarisation: Cross Polarisation (Cross-pol) and Co Polarisation (Co-pol).

Looking at cross polarisation initially, there are two types of cross polarization namely circular and linear. Within the circular realm there is the Left Hand Circular, or LHCP, or Right Hand Circular, or RHCP. This type of polarization is used in C-Band and in X-Band. One would be hard pressed to find circular polarization on Ku, K or Ka band frequencies. Linear polarization on the other hand is used frequently on Ku and Ka band antennas. With linear there are two types: Horizontal and Vertical.

What exactly is happening in the linear world that we need to know about? Before understanding how linear is used, one must understand the device being used on the satellite dish to let one signal pass while blocking the other signal. This is called the Orthogonal Mode Transducer, or OMT for short.

To use the channels that are available for satellite broadcast as efficiently as possible, both horizontal and vertical polarization (and left- and right-hand circular polarization) can be applied simultaneously per channel or frequency. In such cases the frequency of one of the two is slightly altered, to prevent possible interference. Horizontal and vertical transmissions will therefore not interfere with each another because they are differently polarized. This means twice as many programs can be transmitted per satellite. Consequently, via one and (almost) the same frequency the satellite can broadcast both a horizontal and a vertical polarized signal (H and V), or a left- and right-hand circular polarized signal (LH and RH).

The ASTRA2Connect system uses cross polarisation and our users can use this page to check the correct polarisation of their own systems. ASTRA2Connect polarisation checker.
Continue reading
737 Hits
0 Comments

Get in the back! The robot's driving.

The much vaunted phenomenon of automated cars has returned again to the news this week, Read this here. Events like the DARPA Grand Challenge and their ilk continue however to demonstrate that robots can and probably will develop into the way forward for general purpose motoring and transportation.

The storms in Scotland yesterday saw enormous numbers of vehicles struggling to cope with the adverse conditions and either blowing over or bashing into each other and it probably wont be the last time the winter weather presents challenges to the UK motorist with snow gently falling over our Ayrshire offices again this morning.

These two events show the stark contrast between human and robotic drivers. The simple fact is, well before the end of the next decade, humans will be relegated from the drivers seat into the passenger seats. Ok perhaps not all vehicles will conform to this model. Some vehicles will still allow a human to sit behind the wheel, but only with a vigilant robot “supervisor” who will watch their every move and silently fix the human mistakes whilst simoultaneously scanning for unforeseen hazards. Driving a car as we do today will become a risky hobby which will only be possible on specially designed closed courses.

You think this sounds far fetched? Its no less far fetched however than the notion that humans could be trusted behind the wheel of a vehicle in the first place. Henry Ford would look at todays vehicles with incredulity if he did so in the context of the annual death toll on our UK roads which stood at over 2000 last year. The simple fact is we are terrible drivers and getting steadily worse as technology inside and outside vehicles demands more and more from us. The modern car is probably comparable in complexity of systems to a fighter jet of only a few decades ago.

Couple this with the fact that we are often just plain stupid, our eyesight is poor, our hearing suspect even if we choose not to be blasting the latest hits on our car stereos and we lack any appreciation at all of Newtonian physics, blindly tailgating at 80mph in rush hour traffic. Theres no escaping the fact that judgment is evident on the roads only by its absence. In stark contrast, robot drivers can be programmed with the most vulcan style logic coupled with sensory powers that put the human driver to shame.

The robots in the DARPA Grand Challenge could be easily programmed with the full highway code and could sense distances to within a millimetre in the daylight, in fog or even in the dark They could see in the dark and through the sort of fog that would blind any human driver. These robots are but the first members of a class of devices that will advance along a steep curve like that traced by computers and the Internet over the last two decades and will ultimately seem as old hat as a Sinclair ZX Spectrum in a few short years.

Its important however to bear in mind that filling the UK's roads with robot controlled vehicles is about much more than road safety. The introduction of such capable vehicle control could enable the virtual elimination of traffic congestion by safely increasing the density of vehicles per mile by an order of magnitude. They could also eliminate the need for traffic lights, by having robot controlled vehicles safely nip through the gaps in the crossflow traffic rather than waste time waiting for green lights.

Robotic vehicles could also turn commutes into productive time enabling the human passengers to sit back and catch up on work, watch TV, access the net or even sleep. Indeed it would no longer be a necessity to be able to drive in the first place to make use of the road traffic networks enabling the very young or the very old to get from A to B. Imagine no more school runs or newly qualified driver deaths due to inexperience or worse. One thing is certain though. This prediction will seem ever so quaint in a few years as the whole model of how we move around will be rewritten in ways we cannot yet imagine by the introduction of automated transport. The advent of automated transport is as profound a change as the arrival of the horseless carriage 100 or more years ago and the impact on global society today is no less unpredictable.

Think about how our town centres will look in a world where no car parks are necessary. Nowadays, car parks need to be close to the places we need to get to such as workplaces, out of town shopping areas and town centres however in a world of automated transport, car parks could be anywhere, perhaps miles outside of the areas we needed to get to in the first place and can also store vehicles with far greater density since the whole system will be controlled by the system.

The most significant difference however is probably that in a world of automated transport, fewer people will need to own cars at all, relying instead on fleets of shared vehicles.

It certainly is strange to think of our great grandchildren marvelling at the 2009 KIA C'eed in a museum and looking with wonder at the old pictures of what used to be the M25 whilst listening to the Road to Hell by Chris Rea. They will probably wonder how we ever managed to cope with being trusted with a couple of tons of fuel injected steel.
Continue reading
606 Hits
0 Comments