fourvember

I managed to get my wireless weather station to talk to a computer using rtl_433, a simple radio application which takes in wireless signals on a software defined radio (SDR) dongle (principally those on 433MHz, but also others, including mine on 867(?)) and decodes the signals. Fortunately it has built-in a number of known products – including mine – and it was able to display the raw data in a usable way.

I learned that the signal put out by the station is not as strong as I’d expected, as the SDR had trouble picking it up apart from with a line-of-sight position. The actual bundled receiver station must have a well-tuned antenna as this picks up the signal happily anywhere around the house. (The station is at the bottom of the back garden.)

I managed to not only get the data into a local terminal, but also piped it to a live web page using Seashells, which is a very cool tool I’d not seen before which just repeats terminal output to a webpage. Could be useful for lots of things. I’m sure there are ways to grab the weather station data (which refreshes every twelve seconds) and put it into a spreadsheet or some other location. But that’s a job for another day.

I also tinkered again with a truly dreadful FM transmitter – the kind for adding an aux input to car stereos that lack such a feature. I hooked it up to an iPod Shuffle with a bunch of random songs on it and just played it through a radio. The FM transmitter’s own circuitry gave the signal a slightly fuzzy tone, and some local interference even rendered as soft, almost vinyl-esque clicks. Oddly satisfying.

I’d like to build a simple AM transmitter as this seems a nice project to try and get my head around. And I’d like to experiment more with these car stereo FM transmitters to see what a good one is like.

This evening we went to a beach bar which put on a lovely ‘moonlit session’ of fire dancers, live drumming, food and drink. The weather improved considerably after a week of high winds and lashing rain, and conditions were calm and still, with a fattening moon reflecting in the flat sea. It was a lovely atmosphere.

On our walk home we passed through ‘Bottle Alley’ which has RGB LEDs along its length and which I’d observed and enjoyed from outside before, but which I’d never passed through at night time before. It was amazing! Cascading colours run the length of the ‘tunnel’ in a really well-done display that feels somewhat disorientating (in a good way) to be within.

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