Michael Watterson's blog

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Saorview Technical Launch

RTÉ's new Digital Terrestrial Television service, SAORVIEW, will be available from today [29th October 2010] on a trial basis. RTÉ One, RTÉ Two, TV3*, TG4 and RTE News Now are being broadcast from today. The full SAORVIEW service, which will include other channels and services, will be launched in the spring of next year. RTÉ Director-General Cathal Goan said SAORVIEW will be a major change in Irish broadcasting.

via RTE News <and also Irish Times< 
16:30 3rd November 2010 * TV3 has joined Saorview *

Update 17th November 2010  TV3e has joined Saorview.


Read more here (updated link) <and lots more information on Free digital TV<

Update 29th October 2010  * NEW Saorview Sites!*

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Why Mobile will probably never be Broadband.

It's all down to Economics, not technology!

You could do Broadband even with Edge or 3G. But you would need a couple of base stations for each street. Or even more. This is nothing to do with GSM/EDGE, 3G/HSPA, LTE or Mobile Wimax but the problems of

1) Inverse Square law. You need x4 the power and get 1/4 the capacity per user if you double distance to Mast. Thus 2km vs 250m radius cell needs 16x power and gives 1/16th capacity per user, no matter what technology is used.

2) There are practical limits on Spectrum. At typical signal levels the capacity is really pretty much how much spectrum there is. No Technology can solve this.

Such a high density of base stations is not needed for Voice calls.

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New Radar Earth Map. SRTM is only 30m x 30m. The new map will be better than 12x12m See BBC Technology<

BBC Transponder changes will knock out reception for FTA satellite receivers.
Retune October 18th @ 0500h BBC 1 NI, BBC 2 NI, BBC 4, Ceebies will move transponder. BBC 1/2 NI will move to 10,8175 Vert. BBC4/CBeebies will move to 10,802 Horz. via boards.ie<

Starsem Soyuz launch
19th October 2010 Live broadcast starts at 16:56 Universal Time – H.0. 17:10 (UTC)

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Ka-Sat: Mission Control


On schedule for 19th December 2010,  Operational April 2011?

Update 30th May 2011: Saorsat is now testing from Ka-Sat<

Update: 7:03am 27th December 2010: Final Separation. Launch last night at 9:51 was a success. http://www.techtir.ie/blog/watty/ka...<

Blog from ILS<

We started joint operations yesterday afternoon. It was a long day, but all parties did a great job and worked very hard to get the spacecraft (SC) mated to the payload adapter (PLA). Today the SC/PLA stack was mated to the Breeze M and is vertical in Hall 101 undergoing joint electrical testing.
It’s awesome to see the SC mated to the Breeze M. The great thing about joint ops starting is that we are getting closer to the launch!

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Continuing Lies about Broadband.

Click are offering really good value Compaq/HP netbook. It comes with a "Free" 3 Ireland USB Mobile Broadband Dongle.

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Mobile Pay TV?

Beginning of the end for Mobile pay TV?

Qualcomm is reportedly pulling the plug on its US MediaFLO service, after discovering that even Americans won't pay to watch broadcast TV on mobile phones.


Two years ago, Qualcomm spent more than £8m on UK spectrum ideally suited to MediaFlo

IPW has promoted IPW-TV for unused single channel spectrum (no FDD pairing)

Europe has promoted DVB-h

Mobile operators have toyed with 3G based streaming and loFi TV broadcast over DAB network.

But Terrestrial Pay TV is dubious and for intermittent "on the go" usage even more so. Most TV viewing in a UK DVB-h (mobile) trail was simply "personal" TV at home. Not real Mobile.

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October 2010: Sky Launch "3D"

But of course it isn't 3D. It's Stereoscopic TV. Like the Viewmaster and Victorian "Stereo" viewers.

Sky 3D

It needs special glasses or else a single viewer lenticular screen (Nintendo 3DS). It doesn't even work for nearly one fifth of people. There is of course very little real content (films re-processed as 3D is worse than colorising [sic] Casablanca). Prolonged viewing gives headaches as the eyes try to focus at different distances due to the stereoscopic illusion but can only focus to sharp image at the actual screen distance as there is no actual 3D (depth component) at all.

The BBC article (Sky launches Europe's first 3D channel<) though reads like Sky advertising copy and has no facts or warnings. No journalism.

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Old BIOS news repeated as News by BBC

Some facts and a lot of nonsense about Merits and Limitations of BIOS vs EFI or newer UEFI.

Macs and some non-x86 systems have used EFI for years.


Not the BIOS. This is the CMOS or Flash Configuration

Don't confuse the "so called" CMOS setup, which on some MotherBoards (MoBo) is Flash, not battery backed RAM in the real time Clock chip. (CMOS). UEFI still needs to store settings in "CMOS" or Flash. A BIOS can, and some do have "eye candy" setup screens using Mac/Windows style GUI just like UEFI. Some EFI have traditional setup screen. Some Mobo makers offer a Windows Program to change the Motherboard settings. In this case it's irrelevant if it's EFI or BIOS based.


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Cornish Super Fast Broadband.

Just listening to this on BBC R4. The Expert says the days of Broadband via phone are over. It's too slow unless you are very close to the exchange.


A new £132 million investment to deliver fibre-broadband to Cornwall has been announced today which will see between 80% and 90% of homes and businesses connected by 2014 to super-fast broadband. The remaining 10-20% of properties are to get access to faster broadband by other means such as Satellite or Wireless.

Cornwall's population was 513,527 at the last count, and population density 144 people per square kilometre, ranking it 40th and 41st respectively compared with the other 47 counties of England.

Extrapolation to the Irish Population suggests a similar scheme in Ireland would cost £980 Million.

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Email addresses

People signing up with gmail is a problem as most spammers use gmail and google always marks our activation emails as spam.

You can't do first log in without an Activation email. If you see your username on Who's new, then the activation email is set.

Please try and use a real ISP or personal Domain email address. It's recommended you avoid gmail, hotmail, yahoo and similar systems loved by spammers that also often mark or delete mail as spam outside of your control. We don't block any email server, but some email servers mark all our emails as spam. Email addresses will never be passed to 3rd parties without an Irish Court Order. Click Here if you didn't get an email yet<

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Hylas 1 launch success: Service January?

Finally after many delays of building the satellite and moving from unproven Falcon 9 to Soyuz, on 6th September 2010 it was confirmed that Hylas1 (for 33.5W) will be was launched< about 15th November 2010 25th November on the Ariane 5

Was Avanti Communications agrees launch slot for HYLAS 1 satellite

Arianespace gives a “lift” to Intelsat 17 and HYLAS 1

November 26, 2010 – Ariane Flight 198

The fifth Arianespace mission of 2010 orbited two telecommunications payloads today: one for an emerging new player in the broadband services marketplace; and the other for a long-time customer that is the world’s leading provider of fixed satellite services.

via Arianspace news<

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PSK terminal: Data on HF without a PC

I like Data Modes on HF. I have even operated by holding microphone near Laptop speaker and having the Radio speaker near the built in laptop Microphone. I have of course built various audio interfaces and add CAT control too for the PC to Radio. One idea I'm working on is the CatPad<


PSK31 is possibly able to do further distance (DX) at lower power (QRP instead of QRO) than Morse (CW). I have operated PSK31 with success on 2.5W on 40m with an 18' whip. (Laptop and FT817ND, simply "acoustically" coupled rather than wired interface).  Not something too likely on SSB Voice.

Above is the solution to PSK31 on a Radio without the need for a PC. Available ready built or as a kit from nue-psk <it's a neat idea.

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UK Viewing figures 1981 .. 2009

Has Multichannel simply fragmented Advertising and reduced BBC/ITV/C4 quality?

We have some nice Niche channels, but only on Pay-TV and with many repeats.

See UK BARB Figures< here

I made a Graph (see Below<) from the BARB figures. Irish Viewing figures will be added later. But no individual PayTV channel has more than 2% and all Sky Sport Channels together are less than 2%. Yet people can be easily paying €700 a year for Sky or over €400 for UPC.

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NXP announce 120W RF average power (QAM) UHF transistor

EINDHOVEN, THE NETHERLANDS  -- Sep 23, 2010 -- NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ: NXPI) today announced the availability of an Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RF power transistor; the BLF888A, a 600W LDMOS device for broadcast transmitters and industrial applications. The BLF888A is the most powerful LDMOS broadcast transistor in the market to date.

For a DVB-T signal over the full UHF band from 470 to 860MHz, the transistor can deliver 120W average power with efficiencies greater than 31 percent. Featuring excellent linearity, high gain of 21dB and outstanding ruggedness corresponding to VSWR greater than 40:1, the BLF888A is ideal for advanced digital transmitter applications, such as DVB-T. The BLF888A will be showcased at the European Microwave Week, NXP Booth No. 194, from September 26 - October 1, 2010 in Paris.

Probably quite good as a 400W SSB transmitter on 430MHz .. 440MHz and possibly not bad at 1.2GHz

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Unlikely phones?


Facebook is understood to be working with the mobile phone manufacturer, INQ Mobile, to create a branded smartphone to be carried on the US network, AT&T. Nokia is rumoured to be considering making Windows 7 phone.


Facebook have denied that they are creating a phone.