Tuesday, 30 December 2014

If you want to make a comment

I see that only members of the Blog are allowed to comment on a post. I cannot find a setting that would allow comments. I am not to sure that allowing unrestricted comments by anybody and everybody would be a good idea either.
So, if you would like to make a comment about a post, send an email to 2e1ejc@dpars.net with the subject "Comment for the DPARS APRS Blog".
If the comment does not upset the many rules we have to abide by, I will then post the comment on the Blog.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Here is a map, taken from www.aprs.fi, showing my travels today.
It seems I travelled a few miles, but I did stop for a Macdonalds (other fast food chains are available) on the way. It was worth it just to get back a map full of stations!

G0ROZ-3 Sorted

After sorting out M1ABD I took a drive up to Eggardon Hill. I picked up the keys, but when I got up to site I found I had the wrong keys! On the way back down to Dorchester, Bob (G6DZM) called me up on the radio and I had to admit my mistake! It is my age you know!!
When I finally got into site, I found the computer was completely locked up. I had to switch the power off before it would re-boot. Once it re-booted itself there was no sign of a fault and G0ROZ-3 was back on air.
I did notice that the keyboard was not working (The only thing I do not carry a spare of!) but whether that was the cause of the problem or not I could not tell.
Hopefully it will keep running until I can get a new keyboard up there.

M1ABD-3 appeared back on the map again. It looks like I cannot see it from home unless it digi's through M1ABD or G0ROZ-3 first.
I used to be able to see it direct, so I will have to go and check out the system very shortly to see if there is a fault.

M1ABD Sorted

The computer at M1ABD was showing a window that said it could not open the COM port. It must have failed to shut it down when it did the auto-reboot on Sunday morning. A re-boot of the computer put it right and M1ABD is back in action again.
Now on to Eggardon Hill and try to sort out G0ROZ-3.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

More Problems

M1ABD, M1ABD-3 and G0ROZ-3 were all missing from the map again this morning.
I have to go to London today so I will not be able to get around and fix them all. I will do this on Monday.
We will have to look an almost empty map for now. :-(

Saturday, 27 December 2014

M1ABD-3 has re-appeared on the map. They must have been running on generator since last night. The APRS kit only runs on non-essential supply and does not get generated power.
Only G0ROZ-3 to be sorted out now. :-)
Back from the trip up the hill. It appears that the TNC had become confused and was only showing a busy light. A quick reset of the TNC and it burst back into life again.
I now see that M1ABD-3 and G0ROZ-3 are off the map. www.aprs.fi says that they both last transmitted at about 2330 Hours last night. I don't believe that all three stations went off air at the same time!
I will wait and see if the auto-restart  sorts the problem out. If not I am in for a bit of a drive around the County.
Once again I woke up to find an almost empty APRS map. Just 2E1EJC and G4RS plus a few other station North of me. A check on www.aprs.fi showed that the last beacon from M1ABD was heard at 2342 Hours last night. It just so happens that we had a brief power outage around the same time in Blandford Forum. It would appear that, once again, a flaky power supply has confused the computer at M1ABD and, once again, it had occurred during the night.
I will take a trip up the icy slopes of Bullbarrow Hill once I have had my Weetabix (other breakfast cereals are available) and my second cup of tea.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

M1ABD vanished from the map at around 1700 Hours last night (Why does it always stop working just as it gets dark?). I took a trip up the hill this morning and found the computer turned off. I re-booted the computer and all appeared to be well, although there was no indication of what caused the problem in the first place.
Two hours later M1ABD stopped working again. Once again I took a trip up the hill. This time the radio and TNC was off and the UPS had an alarm showing. I was unable to clear the alarm or turn the UPS back on again. So I disconnected the UPS and ran the power supply direct from the mains. The radio and the TNC burst back into life and all appeared to be working again.
I have brought the UPS back to the workshops to try and find what the fault is. I suspect the batteries are no longer holding a charge, but I will run some tests to make sure.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014


M1ABD went off the map at about 1700 Hours last night. I made the trip up the hill this morning to see what the problem was. It appears that once again the power supply had been interrupted but had came back on before the computer had reset itself.
I have now put a UPS and Surge Protector unit in the power supply line to the computer. It will not keep the computer running if the power is off for a long time, but should smooth out the power supply.
Only time will tell!

Here is a picture of the new UPS in place.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

M1ABD was not on the map when I looked first thing this morning. A check with www.aprs.fi showed that the last beacon was at 0715 Hours this morning.
This afternoon I drove up the hill and found the computer switched off. I turned the power back on again and it re-started itself.
There must have been a short power cut this morning and the power returned before the computer had a chance to reset itself so that it would re-start when the power came back on.
All is working normally again (touch wood).

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

While things are a little bit less hectic, I decided to take a drive up Bullbarrow Hill and swap the (very old) VDU for a (Newish) Flatscreen monitor.  Here is a picture of the new installation:

It took longer than I thought it would as I had to fight my way through lots of big cobwebs and then remove the bodies of dead birds that had obviously got in somehow and could not get out.
All appears to be working well and the screen if a lot easier to see.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Having replaced the TNC and the U/S aerial, I was still baffled as to why G0ROZ-3 did not appear on www.aprs.fi.
The station was Digipeating and sending out beacons. Looking at the paths of stations that had been digipeated, G0ROZ-3 was shown in the packet path. Even so, aprs.fi was not showing packets being digipeated.
After some research and digging around, I found that the station ID had been set to G0R0Z-3 (Golf Zero Romeo Zero Zulu dash Three). Checking with aprs.fi showed all the beacon packets under the callsign G0R0Z-3.
I must have set it to this when I took the new computer up to site.
So wearing my embarrassed face, I took on the holidaymaker traffic and took another trip up to site. Callsign has been changed to G0ROZ-3 and all is well with the world again (Touch Wood).

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Faulty Aerial at G0ROZ-3.

Still not happy with the performance of G0ROZ-3, Paul G1ZKJ and I paid a visit to site today. The problem appeared to be that it was not repeating beacons from stations that were not nearby.
First of all we checked out the software and could not find a problem. We then checked the cables and the radios and they appeared to be okay. Next we checked the aerial. A check of the SWR showed that it had a maximum reading. We checked again with a second meter and had the same reading.
I was not happy as this was a new aerial that was only put up at the beginning of the year.
We did not have a spare aerial with us so Paul suggested that we use one of the old Job ones that are still on the mast.
The first one we checked had a SWR of 1:5. The next one we checked had an SWR that hardly moved the needle.
so we hooked the radio to it and the system burst back into life again.
It is now digi'ing packets from stations as far away as Portsmouth and Bath. I could even talk to my own station directly, which has not been possible for some time.

Here is a Selfie of Paul and I on the roof of the hut looking pleased with ourselves!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

G0ROZ-3 has been missing from the map for a day or two, so today I took a trip up the hill to see what was what. The computer had locked up and was just showing a black screen. A re-boot solved the problem and G0R)Z-3 is back on the map again.

Friday, 13 June 2014


I made another trip to Eggardon Hill today and replaced the broken Tiny2 with a KPC3 TNC. All seem to be working as it should again.
The TNC is at an angle because the power lead was not long enough. When I made the leads up for the radio to TNC link many years ago, I put an adaptor in the lead so that I could use it with both makes of TNC. I am rather glad I did!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

It appears that the Tiny2 TNC is broken at G0ROZ-3. The lights are flashing to show that it is transmitting and receiving, but nothing is getting to the COM port.
I do not have a spare TNC at Eggardon, so I have had to come back to base to dig another TNC out of the supply cupboard and set it up.
I expect it will be tomorrow (Friday) before I go back and replace the TNC
When I looked at the APRS map this morning, I was amazed to see G0ROZ-3 on the map! Unless Gremlins do exist or somebody has been to site and fixed it, I can think of no reason why it should suddenly start working after four days.
I am making a trip up to site later on today, so will see if I can catch the Gremlins in the act!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


G0ROZ-3 appears to have stopped working at around 1500 Hours on Saturday. I have been trying to get to site to find out what is wrong, but there have been other calls on my time. I will go to site tomorrow (Thursday) and sort it out.

Monday, 2 June 2014

I was a bit concerned that M1ABD-3 was not performing as it should, so yesterday I went to Headquarters and checked the SWR on the aerial. There did not appear to be any problem and the SWR was 1.5:1. When I turned the computer back on it started to boot, but just as Windows was starting, it flashed up a BSOD and re-booted itself. It kept doing this over and over again and the only way to stop it was to turn the power off. The BSOD flashed up too quick to read, but I thought it must be a disk problem.
So, I connected up the spare computer and brought the broken computer home.
I booted up into the Recovery Console and ran CHKDSK. After whirring away to itself for some time it reported no errors on the disk. So, fingers crossed, I started the computer normally and it burst into life again.
Can only assume that the disk must have had a problem and CHKDSK sorted it out.
Back to Headquarters tonight to replace the computer.

Thursday, 29 May 2014


When I got up this morning, I noticed that there were not many stations on the APRS map. It seems that all the stations left on the map had last been heard 40 minutes ago. When I checked back later, the map was empty apart from 2E1EJC and G4RS. M1ABD failed to respond to a Ping.
So, a trip up the hill was called for. Once again the top of the hill was alive with SEB men cutting down trees and working on poles.
When I got into the site I found that the power was on, the computer had re-started but there was a message on the screen saying that COM 1 could not be opened as it was already in use. This was obviously the cause of the problem as the TNC is connected to COM 1.
The problem appears to be with STARTUP.exe. Mr Google says that STARTUP.exe should be started with a /r switch, i.e. C:\Windows\System32\STARTUP.exe /r
But it appears the switch should be -r or the COM port is not re-started if the power is cut off.
I did several tests to make sure the computer would re-boot if the power was cut off and then restored.
M1ABD is back in working order again and the map is full of stations.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

All 3 stations, G0ROZ, G0ROZ-3 and M1ABD-3, were on air this morning. It looks like the problem with auto-reboot has been solved! Deep Joy! :))

Monday, 19 May 2014


Once again the computer appeared not to re-boot itself after the automatic re-boot on Sunday morning. I made a trip up to site today and found the computer screen with a message that it was "Unable to open COM 1 as the port is already open".
The only fault I could find on the whole system is the switch after the re-boot command line was /r instead of -r.
I made a few checks to make sure that it would re-boot okay with -r, changed the command line and saved it.
Lets see what happens next Sunday morning.

Sunday, 11 May 2014


This morning I noticed that G0ROZ-3 was not on the map. I thought perhaps it had not re-booted itself correctly in the early hours. A trip to site was made after lunch today. The machine had re-booted but the TNC appeared to be not working. I have not had trouble with Tiny2 TNCs before. I re-booted the computer and the TNC and all appears to be back working again (Touch Wood!!).

Saturday, 10 May 2014


Today I took a new computer up to Headquarters and put it on M1ABD-3. The new box has an Intel 2.4 GB processor, 1GB RAM and is running Windows XP. It is also set up to switch itself back on if the power goes off and also to auto re-boot every Sunday at 0200 Hours.
I was unable to use the old monitor as it was not capable of working with the new machines' graphic card. I had to return to base and get one of the spare flatscreen monitors from store.
Next job is to get a decent rack to hold the equipment.

Friday, 9 May 2014


Today I paid a visit to M1ABD to correct the Uivew32.ini file.
After driving over the nice new bit of road on the top of Bullbarrow, the correction was done with no problems. UIFLOOD is now TRACE and UITRACE is now WIDE and the path is now shown in digi'd packets.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014


Tonight I noticed that M1ABD-3 was not on the map. A check with www.aprs.fi showed that it had not been transmitting for most of the day. So a trip to Headquarters was made.
I found the computer was turned on but there was a message on the screen saying "Operating system not found"! The computer was re-booted and started up normally after doing a Scan Disk.
So it looks like the HDD could be on the way out.
I have a new computer to install at Headquarters once it has been cleaned up and Uiview installed. Hopefully the old computer will last a while longer.

Today I took a trip to Eggardon Hill and replaced the computer running G0ROZ-3. Inside this box is a motherboard with an AMD Sempron 26 and 1GB of Ram and Windows XP as the OS. It has been set up to re-boot itself every Sunday at 0300 Hours and to automatically switch itself back on if the power goes off.

While setting up this computer it occurred to me that I had not changed Uiview on the M1ABD computer to take account of the new UIFLOOD and UITRACE settings. You may have noticed that M1ABD is not showing paths with its digipeated packets.

I will go back up to site and change the settings in Uiview32.ini, but I can't until Friday as the road to site has been closed while they resurface it. The road is badly in need of repair so no complaints from me!

Sunday, 4 May 2014


Inside the old case there is a Dual-Core 2.4 GHz Motherboard with 1GB of RAM running Windows XP.
This afternoon I took a trip up Bullbarrow Hill and replaced the old computer with this new one. It has been set up so that it re-starts itself after a power cut and it also does a re-boot every Sunday at 0300 Hours.
It may have been my imagination but it seemed to be digipeating more stations, but it could be because the computer can process packets quicker.
Anyway, fingers crossed and we will see how it does.

Friday, 2 May 2014

M1ABD stopped working again today. This morning we had a visit by the firm that services the generator. It would seem that they turn the power off when they test the generator. Our installation is on the Non-Essential power supply, so the power to the computer was cut off. As the computer will not switch itself back on after a power cut, M1ABD did not re-boot itself.
I had a message from Chris M6CSV after the last post to let me know that there is a switch in BIOS that will restart the computer after a power cut. Unfortunately the computer at M1ABD is too old for this switch. However, I am in possession of some old redundant Windows XP computers and they do have the switch in BIOS.
So I am busy loading the software onto a new machine and there will be a Windows XP machine running M1ABD very soon.
We are getting very modern!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

M1ABD went from the map last night. I took a trip up the hill today and all that was required was to turn the computer on.
It seems that the older computers had a power switch on the front that, once you had turned it on, you needed to push the switch again to turn it off. This meant that after a power cut the computer was still turned on and just powered itself up again.
Modern computers have a power switch that just turns the power on but does not latch. This means that after a power cut the computer does not power itself up and needs somebody to push the power switch to turn it on.
Obviously, this is not a good plan when the computer is on top of a hill with a flaky power supply!

I am not sure what the answer to this problem is. I have considered a UPS but it would need a large one to run the computer for several hours and the cost is prohibitive.
It occurred to me that I could just short out the live and neutral pins on the switch so that it was always latched. I am not sure how this would affect the power supply in the computer though. Would it burn something out in that condition?

If anybody does have an answer to the above question, or knows what the answer to the problem is, I would be grateful if you could let me know at 2e1ejc@dpars.net.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Took a trip up Bullbarrow Hill today to check out M1ABD. Once again a power cut caused problems. The computer did not re-start itself after the loss of power. A quick push of the button and we are back in business.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

M1ABD appears to have stopped working and my APRS map is empty. Will take a run up the hill tomorrow and see what the problem is.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

I have been up to Bullbarrow Hill and found that the computer running M1ABD was stuck in Safe Mode. We must have had another power cut and the computer re-booted into Safe Mode.
A quick re-boot and all is well again.
Memo: Must ask Mr Google if you can stop Win98 re-booting into Safe Mode after "Failing to close down correctly".
Once again, M1ABD is missing from the map!. First noticed yesterday afternoon and the log says it last transmitted at 1100 Hours yesterday. I am unable to get to site until later on today. Hopefully it is not too serious a fault

Thursday, 27 February 2014

DPARS has number of ex-military items stored in Blandford Forum, Dorset. a couple of photos of some of the items are shown below. There are no radios, they are mainly telegraph and line items. There is a possibility that the items may have to be dumped. If anybody is interested in obtaining some or all of them, please contact 2e1ejc@dpars.net to arrange viewing them. Items must be collected but are free to a good home.

M1ABD-3 was off the air last night (26 February 2014) between 2000 Hours and Midnight due to a planned power outage at Headquarters. Station is now working normally again having re-booted itself when the power was restored.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Found a replacement power supply for the computer and installed it this afternoon. The original computer is now back on M1ABD and working normally (fingers crossed).
I took a trip up to M1ABD yesterday afternoon and found the area covered in SSE vans and more people than I have ever seen on top of Bullbarrow before.
I spoke to one of the linemen who said that they were fixing the fault and the power should be back on that evening.
This morning M1ABD had still not appeared on the map.
So, once again I took a trip up the hill.
I found that the power had come back on, but the computer was not running.
It appears that the computer power supply had given up trying to deal was the on-off electricity and had died. I keep a spare computer on site (a very old one that will only run Windows 95), so I persuaded it to spring into life and replaced the broken computer.
M1ABD is now back on air again and appears to be running normally.

Ted (2e1ejc@dpars.net)

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Yet again the electricity is off at Bullbarrow Hill and M1ABD is off air. It would appear that this is going to happen every time we get heavy rain until SSE finally fix the problem.
The last packet transmitted by M1ABD was just before 0200 Hours this morning.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The electricity was off again at M1ABD from 0045 Hours until approx. 1500 Hours today. There was a problem with an underground cable that went to a transformer on a pole in the middle of a field. Fingers crossed, the problem has been solved.

Monday, 17 February 2014

The electricity came back on at M1ABD at Bullbarrow Hill at 1450 Hours today. M1ABD is back on air and working normally.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

There has been a complete power failure at the M1ABD site on Bullbarrow Hill. The back-up generator has also failed (Possibly due to lack of fuel).
So, M1ABD will be off the air until power is restored.