Christmas meal 2012

We’re going to have a Christmas curry this year, on the 10th December.  The current plan is meet in the Malt Shovel on Bridge Street at 7pm onwards, and then move to Aladdin’s Balti Hut for 7.30pm.  Comment on the mailing list if you’re coming so I can book the table

SDR flowchart: POCSAG

Not sure any of these are entirely working, but the local area doesn’t appear to use POCSAG but has maybe gone onto FLEX as the frequency bands look a bit busy.

Simplest attempt is using a modified version of osmo-pocsag.  It writes out baseband to a file.  Create a fifo, and direct the the cmdline app to its output.
A more complex version is based on this (by bafe), and has some good waterfall pictures to give a better indication of what’s going on.  Confusingly it’s called gr-pocsag, and thus confusable with the POCSAG decoding GRC block by patchvonbraun here, which needs compiling and installing.
I’ll update this once I’ve actually either confirmed that what I’m seeing is not POCSAG or which/either/both/none works.

Playing with the RTL SDR

So the hackerspace will imminently have a number of Realtek-based SDRs as demonstrated last meeting.  An SDR, or Software-Defined Radio is a very flexible device, that performs the equivalent of a “raw recording” of a portion of the RF spectrum and then the raw samples can be processed in any way you like on your computer.

So for example, you can pick up FM radio, the pager network, transmissions from the ISS, or aircraft transponders.  Working GRCs will be posted on the blog
We’re going to try doing some of these things in the space over the next few months, the exact dates will be discussed on the list.  If you’d like to try this, here’s some links:

Another useful resource is the subreddit for it.

Minimus workshop #1

Monday was a good day for hacking; we had an impromptu Minimus workshop.  This was surprisingly successful, attendees were able to get their boards programming in Windows or Linux as to their preference, and then start diving into code.

The devices aren’t as friendly as the Arduino boards, and the example source code will compile but not always run without extensive tweaking, but by the end of the session, in addition to a medley of flashing lights, we also had a one button keyboard and a virtual serial port that reported its button state.

Due to demand we will run another of these in April (2nd or 16th, TBC) and again will have Minimus boards available for use on the day or purchase.  There’s no fixed cost for the workshop, but donations are appreciated.  If you have a Minimus board or are interested in a step on from Arduinos, why not come past?

As a reminder to Northackton members who are also NSME members, their auction is on the 13th of March.