Michael Watterson's blog

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eBay Problems

Just because you can buy a Video Sender, Mains Networking adaptor, walkie Talkie, security camera  or Baby monitor in PC World/Currys, Maplin or eBay doesn't make it legal or a good idea:

Quote:
Problems had been reported near bases across Japan, Kyodo news agency said.

A US official said the military discouraged the use of US-bought baby monitors by its personnel in Japan.

According to the Japanese internal affairs and communications ministry, the devices emit strong signals on the same frequencies as those used for mobile telephones and radio communications, which is against the law.

via BBC<

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BAI defers any further attempts at pay DTT till 2012?

Reality at last. Smile
Well nearly...

Quote:
A competition could potentially be held during 2012 with a view to commercial DTT being operational in 2013.

Stupidity.

Quote:
two made particular reference to the role of RTÉNL as the main contributing factors to the failure to achieve a successful outcome.

If they believe that, then they are needing more therapy. RTÉNL is not the problem. Freesat, Sky, UPC and total lack of  real  indigenous PayTV content creators is the issue. 90% of the pay DTT Channels would have to be ones already free on satellite and the pay DTT market is about 5% to 10% of households as any DTT Pay TV can't compete with Sky or UPC that have over 80%.

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Final nail in Mobile WiMax coffin?

Fixed WiMax has a sure future, but Intel's dream of bundling their chips for Mobile WiMax into every Notebook, Laptop, Netbook and Tablet is fading. There were only two major Mobile Operators that adopted Mobile WiMax. The Russian operator is already switching to LTE for their roll out and Clearwire (USA major cities) appear to have a "road map" to switch to LTE in next couple of years.

Imagine's Irish Wimax using Intel and Motorola gear with Intel backing is giving WiMax a bad name as building penetration at 3.6GHz is very poor, though an improvement over the S-CDMA based Ripwave that Imagine "Inherited" on their 3.6Ghz licences when they bought IBB from NTR.. Clearwire in Ireland had a very poor reputation and the operation has been sold to Imagine.

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Irish Amateur Radio Exam

Why is the pass rate so low?

Partly to blame are stupid questions in the regulations section that are really nothing to do with Regulations, like foreign call signs?

Lack of preparation?

The pass rate in South Africa is 70% Many places in UK it's 100%.

I'm against "dumbing" down. But I'm also against poorly designed exams or poor preparation.

Quote:

Michael Watterson's picture

FM Radio to Stay. Who ever said it was going away?

RTE has started DAB for new Digital Only Radio in Ireland. DAB stations will all also be be on Saorview and Saorsat. We are having an ASO in 2012 (analogue Switch Off).

But FM-VHF is not going away...

http://www.independent.ie/national-...<

Quote:
Britain and parts of Europe are planning to switch off their analogue signal in favour of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), sparking fears that the same would happen here.

Standard radios can't pick up the digital signal, which would make them, and millions of car radios, obsolete.

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Irish Digital TV Announced

RTE executives met with the Oireachtas Committee for Communications  14-07-2010.

(see this word doc<)

The Irish Terrestrial Digital Television (i.e. via an aerial), called Saorview will launch 31st October 2010. In Spring/Summer 2011 the plan is to add Saorsat<, a fill-in and backup Satellite service (i.e. via a dish). Our existing Analogue TV will be turned of by (during, starting end of?) 2012.

Debate debates.oireachtas.ie<

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XP Professional

A Microsoft exec admitted today that about 75% of business computers still run the nine-year-old OS on hardware averaging 4.4 years old, and Computerworld's now reporting Microsoft will extend XP's lifespan through 2020 as a result.

Lots of specialist applications and Niche hardware & Drivers don't work on Vista or Windows 7. While Windows 7 fixes most of the issues of Vista, it's still slower to boot, less compatible, no more secure in reality and needs more RAM than XP.

Quote:
"Going forward, businesses can continue to purchase new PCs and utilize
end user downgrade rights to Windows XP or Windows Vista until they are
ready to use Windows 7," Microsoft Windows communications manager Brandon LeBlanc blogged<

Extending the downgrade option on Windows 7 means that Microsoft can still claim the Windows 7 sale and feed the operating system into the customer base, while letting customers continue to use the software they like until they're ready to move (if ever).

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Stereoscopic TV: Marketed as 3D

Good round up review here

http://www.reghardware.com/2010/06/24/grouptest_3d_tvs_buyers_guide/<


Good clear introduction.but misses some points:
1) While implied, the article doesn't explicitly state that it's not 3D at all. Only Stereoscopic. Like Viewmaster or Victorian novelties.

2) Maybe 20% of people who DO see real 3D, don't get ANY depth illusion from Stereoscopic video.

3) The Active shutter glasses may work for some people with one eye slightly weaker where the passive glasses don't..

4) Prolonged Stereoscopic video viewing will cause headache and eye strain. In reality unlike real life or real 3D displays(there are some not holographic), the image distance is actually always on the screen. The eye unconsciously tries to focus on apparently closer or further objects based on the parallax illusion. This is what causes the headaches or even nausea. The definition of "prolonged" is going to vary per person.   

See also http://www.techtir.ie/node/1001459<

I recently tried 3D in Harvey Normans. The glasses are quite heavy.

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Bits and Pieces

Found this interesting site<< on RF design

Still working on PIC based CATpad, PIC based Admiral system and a 70MHz / 4m Transverter for 145MHz. The 25MHz Crystal to 75MHz -5dBm L.O. to drive ring diode mixer is simple and uses a single BC547 transistor.

Added two new aerials on my rotating 144MHz yagi mast:

Three Yagi Aerials

******

Don't forget the Forums< 

******

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The Fudge of Irish DTT

After 10years the Official public "launch" of Irish DTT is not happening on 31st October 2010 as planned. Due to failure to find a Commercial PayTV operator the  launch this Autumn will be called a Testing phase (soft launch?) and official Launch as a National Service effectively in 2012

Quote:

The Minister for Communications has told the Dáil that the Digital Terrestrial Television service will be up and running in a testing capacity by October. Eamon Ryan earlier said he had told RTÉ that the full DTT service will be launched on 31 December 2011. Minister Ryan said it would be a tight schedule but that the necessary set-top boxes were ready to go.

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What connects at the end of an Aerial?

http://www.independent.ie/business/...<

Quote:

Michael Watterson, a freelance communications design consultant and board
member of broadband lobby group Ireland Offline, suggests cancelling
your subscription (after the typical minimum contract period of 12
months) and buying a FTA receiver box to use with your existing Sky
equipment.

"Every town has people and large multiples selling €30
to €200 FTA receivers and Freesat receivers. They work on existing Sky
dish and wiring," he said. "The only reason to go for UPC is if you are
not allowed a dish or don't want one."

Actually the Freesat or Free To Air receiver would be a 2nd setbox for a 2nd room if you cancel Sky. Sky now install Sky+ or SkyHD and this uses two feeds from  four available at the Dish.

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After 10 years, End of line

There isn't money for content, or electric or feed costs for the payTV muxes. Nor money to roll them out more. There isn't and never was a viable commercial plan for Terrestrial Pay TV in Ireland.

RTE will need every cent just to meet the PSB mux rollout obligations. Maybe in 2014 or so someone can afford them.

Roll out the the PSB MUX asap. Start the launch. Light the blue touch paper

http://www.independent.ie/business/...<

Quote:

By Laura Noonan

Saturday May 15 2010

PLANS to launch a new commercial television platform in Ireland<
are in disarray after the final bidder for the multi-million euro
contract bowed out in recent days.

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UPC rebrands Chorus/NTL and Considers the DTT contract

Hidden in bottom of article on 100Mbps Broadband and UPC re-branding

Quote:
UPC's owner is also mulling over a contract to roll out the next generation of paid-for TV in Ireland. Liberty Global, along with consortium partner RTE [as EasyTV], was offered the contract for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) last week when talks with a separate consortium collapsed [OneVision]. DTT will become the transmission method for Ireland's four free-to-air channels by 2012 at the latest.

UPC's spokesperson yesterday said the DTT contract was "under consideration".

from http://www.independent.ie/business/media/chorusntl-renamed-upc-as-it-rings-changes-with-new-services-2164581.html<

There is no suggestion that BAI has set any deadlines this time, or in fact has done anything other than the norm of issuing the offer to the next rated tender.
Boxer hoped to launch in Jan 2009 and have 225,000 customers after an "investment" of €165M
http://www.independent.ie/business/media/obrien-group-told-january-dtt-launch-is-a-fantasy-1444310.html<
RTE wanted an October 2009 Launch.

There isn't 50K customers for this and why would UPC want to cannibalise its cable market (where the 1st transmitters 100% cover already)?

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Easy TV awarded Irish Pay DTT licence

April 29th 2010: Easy TV offered Licence for DTT.

It took Government and its Quangos A YEAR to realise that OneVision would never agree contracts.

It was last May that Boxer withdrew (the winning bid).

Well...

Either it will launch and go bust or it will not launch.

Will it be 1 week (should be) or 1 year to decide if taking Contract?

"Easy TV"  is a consortium held by RTE and UPC owner Liberty
Global.  However Liberty Global has expended much (Debts?) on Cable Fibre upgrades worldwide and on  Sirius XM  satellite Radio in USA, which is losing money. RTE doesn't have the money to fund the Pay DTT roll out. In present climate (dramatically different from two years ago when the Tender offered) will either have appetite for it?

Links (open in new tabs/windows)

See this comment< on 9th March

Liberty Globa<l, owner of UPC Ireland (who took over NTL and Chorus). A partner in Easy TV

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White Space Radio

Is Cognitive Radio a fantasy?

There has been a lot of nonsense written and researched, even in Ireland's Universities. Basically the "hidden" transmitter syndrome  (A is transmitting to B, C can't hear A and transmits, wiping out  B's reception) can only be solved by a central database. But how does "C" access it? Who maintains it?

Good article here

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/0...<

Also you can't make Transmitter Filters, Duplex filters and aerials out of software. No matter how good SDR, any radio is limited by the physical band using parts it is built with.