Monday 20th April, 2010: (*** Wengen village pictures included ***) Well, 6 months again since the last update of this news page; whilst admitting that my web pages and sites are not the highest on my list of priorities I should really try to update this part at least somewhat more frequently. I shall attempt to do so.
Again a lot has happened in the meantime which has on one side meant a significant amout of work for both Ingrid and myself, a lot of effort for a friend of mine, and on the other side of the coin I have also been busy with some technical and also not-so-technical things which have occupied my time. I shall elect to consider here the latter things.
I should say here since it all took a large amount of disruption and effort that despite living where we do, in a 'quiet' area with nearly no crime or other 'nasty' things happening, obviously the occasional things do occur such as a bicycle being stolen, a shed broken into, that sort of thing but on the whole we are very lucky and above all we have the best neighbours you could even think of asking for. So it was with considerable surprise one day to attempt to use my antenna mast wthout it erecting properly and then going outside to it only to find most of the (expensive) cables and a lot of the antennas to which they were connected were wrecked, wrenched apart, broken or otherwise made useless. It was as if some drunken yob or two had tried to play 'Tarzan' using the cables or maybe climb the mast for a bet. In any event, yhe lesson was clear: if you want to know if something is worthwhile, then see if someone destroys it. Destruction is a very good teacher, something I remember learning a very long time ago when I was a boy but had in the meantime forgotten. Who did this we shall probably never know but for the sake of completeness we did make a full police report (after thinking for a time whether it was worth doing so) even though I made no claim on my insurance, which would only have paid out for materials themselves anyway, not all of the work and testing and checking that was the major part of it. I did finally choose to re-build anew the antenna set (although I have not included some of the more specialised design and construction work that I did in the original: I have no interest in seeing my own such efforts destroyed again so I just bought standard and kept receipts).
All of this was just before our planned vacation to Wengen, Switzerland, but to be honest I did not really feel safe leaving the house and the mess of the antennas behind (the actual mast itself was not damaged, it's professional and very strong) and wanted to stay around ready for anything similar that may occur rather than being 1,000 Km. away with no extra security features in place. So Ingrid went to Wengen this time, with her mother, and I used a lot of the time in doing mounting and wiring, and also incorporating some extra security features.
One can lose track of time, I remember an occasion when I had the mast 'canted over' so that I could do a lot of work with a ladder on the adjacent roof, knowing of course that it was dark but screwing this and that by using building-lights and then wondering why it was a bit slippery on the roof and difficult to move around: little had I realised that it had gone below freezing and that it was half past four in the morning!!! Still, I had managed to get a lot done. That is now about 95% completed, however, so no more about it all here.
On the photographic side I have made further plans which together with a friend of mine being more closely and actively involved should yield at least 3 more of the "series" of themed portrait/expression shoots, and in addition we are going to do two others, one coupled to "Golden Eyes" called "Of Reflection", and the other called "Of Superlatives" in which my friend will be posing me for the shoot (well, I always do what I'm told, don't I?...)! Finializing the selection of the model[s] for this together with the coordinating of our activities will however take time.
I have also been designing and building electronics to expand my capabilities for the A.T.V. station (see http://www.pa2tg.net [or .org, .eu, .info, .com, I've registered all those] for further details of these activities. We discussed, planned and recently (as last week) had a session during which we made some voice-over / intro recordings, shot some new photographs and also put some action into video clips which will all be shortly available; a first look at these showed very satisfyingly. The new antennas in use for A.T.V. work, two not as well as my original designs/adaptations but fit for purpose and I may add to them to compensate for the slight drop in performance.
Our oldest (and now only...) cat Snoopy is nearly deaf but is still enjoying her time here as one of the family, liking her fuss and as always getting well out of the way whenever the 'Red Devil' is to be seen (the vaccuum cleaner)! She is nearly 19 years old now and not quite as agile as in her younger years, but then would you expect to be dancing the tango in your really elder years?
Thinking of years, we were recently honoured to be invited to an ex-colleague and friends' 80th birthay celebration: I have this man and an actress friend (he also directed a great many of the plays we were in) to thank for a great deal of the self-confidence and belief I was shown to be capable of building up many years ago. He is knowledgeable, professional, and compassionate and honest: to have such a man as an acquaintance let alone to be counted as a friend is an honour indeed. I also met a number of old colleagues and we caught up with a number of people with whom we'd either lost touch or simply not seen for a time, and it was a day that will not be forgotten. Many more years please, Norman!
That's all that I'll share with you here for now, so until the next update, good wishes and take care.
Saturday 25th October, 2009: What a long time for this latest news section, I know, but a lot has been happening and a lot os still in progress and must admit that this Web site has taken a somewhat back place on the burner as it were whilst we dealt with and did a lot of other things. Firstly, we did enjoy our sojourn in Wengen, Switzerland, as we always do, but the time passes by so quickly and there was already a lot going on. Ingrid managed (I don't know how she does it!) to find some Swiss and Switzerland-related antiques on several little outings whilst we were there and most certainly enjoyed doing so, even though her back and shoulders are giving a wee problem at the moment. I didn't do any amount of photography that I would normally expect to have done, I was again rather tired and had a rather bad case of indigestion on top of that which cost us time, so I'll just have to make up for that next time there. Here, and they should have been here a long time ago, are just a couple of pictures of the 'locale' in and around Wengen:-
Firstly here is the massive mainstreet (village highstreet!) as one can view it during a quiet time during the summer:
A couple of visitors chatting with a local who's cutting back on the field of grass as he pauses for them from his labours:
This is the cable transport car up to the nearby peak of the Mannlichen, which goes between Wengen just behind a bank and a grocers' to the Mannlichen:
The gardens ren't too big and the ground, as you may imagine, is very rocky and not the most suited to the English, Dutch or equivalent country garden idea, plus of course unless you are there for most of the time to tend it then it is limiting in what you can do:
This is the view across the tennis courts to out own little group of houses with a local hotel in the background, beyond which is the rack-and-pinion railway (the WAB - Wengen Alp Bahn, over 110 years old) which is the only way to/from the village from your car in Lauterbrunnen, except in dire emergencies (e.g. medical, for which there are helicopters); there are also helicopters for use by builders on larger projects as well. Most all produce for the shops and the one (very small) "supermarket" comes in via the railway which even has special milk tank wagons:
We have a balcony, the views from which are wonderful every time, and where we very occasionally have friends over (yes, they are allowed to sleep indoors!) and also bask in the sunshine on our more 'lazy' days:
Computer / internet facilities are limited at the moment but next time I am there I should gring another box as well as arrange finally the last things necessary for an ADSL connection, not that the computer gets a lot of use as we are away from a lot of that sort of thing which we do at home here in .nl, but it is handy to be able to use e-mail and a few other things when you want to:-
Inreid has beed doing a lot more than can be seen in this one of the living room but here is a corner with one of her recent addidions of a vintage lamp:
Wengen is not without its specialist shops, like the jewellers seen below, and indeed I should (and will) include some more of the vilage high street as and when time (sorry for the pun - time, jewellers...) allows; so here's the Bijouterie Silberhorn:
A place thats is very useful and helpful to me is the Foto shop "Photo Fritz"
from Herrn Lauener, believe it or not I can order my negative film (120 roll format)
there and they will have it in typicall y 3 or 4 days, which is ten times faster then
I get it here - and yet, wait for it - the film is imported from The Netherlands
where we live!!
This is one of those views from our balcony that forebodes the weather to come... yet up there, the weather can change almost as fast as the eye can blink. During the winter on a clear sunny day and a temperature of, say, 8 degress celcius, you can go for a good walk in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt and not feel cold at all (try *that* at home!); in the summer with a much higher temperature but a bit of wind especially in the shade, and you can feel quite cool - but what a contrast! :-
There are a *lot* more images of in and around Wengen which I will add to this as quickly
as my other activities allow.
Wengen is still the only place left I would ever want to go away to for vacation or for any other reason to be honest; I've seen enough and have no desire to travel to other climes and we both feel at home from home as it were in Wengen, so hopefully we shall continue going to our place there for many years to come. Ingrid basically feels the same way when we are there, it's out own little "bolt-hole" away from the troubles and strife of daily life!
It seems now that I should separate out the Amateur Radio activities from the rest of the
Engineering side of this Web site, since I appear to be doing rather a lot on that at the moment.
See http://www.pa2tg.net (or .org, .eu, .com, etc) for this new, separate
The latest project (the others have taken something of a back set at the moment)
is what a close friend referred to as "my latest erection"
to be a little crude about it (it gets even worse - there are photos
following this to show the progress of this effort) and actually relates
to the erection of an antenna mast which is extendable by indoor electric control
to vary its height. Down at base level, i.e. not extended, it is only 6.5m above ground,
but I can extent it upwards to a total height of over 24 metres ang with
antennas on top of that it comes to a good height for, especially, UHF and SHF
reception / transmission which also makes for a more far-reaching ATV coverage.
This is not as simple a job as the photos make it appear - firstly, a large pit has to be dug into which reinforced concrete is poured: into this concrete before any setting occurs (indeed, as it is being poured) 4 securing threads are inserted each with its own 'anchor', which is an extra bind of steel strength in the concrete for these threads of steel. There must be correctly-spaced to match the holes in the thick steel plate that is the base of the "foot" of the antenna mast - this foor alone weighs some 250 kilogrammes. Upon this foot is hinged, at the top of the foot, the outside of 3 insertable triangular structures that form the rest of the mast and which can be raised or lowered.
The erection of this is a subject of this separate link and I hope that the information and photos there describe sufficiently the process, and all the hard work, that was involved in getting it up.
Now, seeing as I had decided upon this mast before the vacation, I also decided to update and re-organise the entire radio and ATV station, which mean major construction indoors, total re-wiring and a new layout of the equipment - to which I have also added a few items, not least the excellent Yeasu FT-2000D equipment for the H.F. bands (i.e. below 50MHz or longer wavelengths than 6 metres), today there is not a great deal to be gained from designing and building your own H.F. transciever of this type so that, and an associated linear power amplifier for maximum legal power in transmission, gives me basically what I want for those frequencies. I still have accessories which are my own design and build for varying types of transmission which I use with this 'rig', an I still keep the older H.F. equipment as a second set for use in different circumstances and for a backup should that be needed. However, all the metalwork and woodwork for this new station layout was also a great deal of work in addition to the preparations for the erection of the antenna mast.
So firstly (and these will be updated as completion nears) some photos of the mast
before, ready for, during and (hopefully) finally erected, and secondly some
of the new radio station layout as it is at the moment will be found in the
separate Amateur Radio page; the last changes are still not
completed yet so there is still more work to be done... but then there's no
peace for the wicked, is there?
I am still finding that 28 hours in a day is simply not sufficient: since returning from Wengen, I seem to have been busy again but I'll be taking it a bit easier once the various heavy jobs are done!
Friday 5th June, 2009:
Well, several things have taken place since the last news update but most of
those are purely of interest to me. However on the A.T.V. side of things, I
now have everything integrated and in its correct place as well as easy-to-control.
Power output is up to what I designed it for and I have been busy doing
photographs for the new ATV transmission capability, with Angela modelling
for me for the stills and the production test video, and we have also made
a set of voice-over recordings for use both on the ATV station and for this
Web site. Inded, you maye have already heard one or more of those recordings
before arriving at this point of reading.
Also in the works and being managed at this moment are some new antenna (aerials) which I shall have erect fairly shortly.
A web-quality smallscaled version of the new ATV test video can be seen by clicking this link, it is just one of the ATV video series; also, some still images from the new ATV video can be seen from the following links:-
Shortly there wil be an autofeed of SSTV and ATV receive and transmit images as fast as I can make that occur within reason and as soon as I have finished writing the control and transfer software that makes these images and accompanying information 'p.c.-ready' as it were. he link for that will be station.html ( http://www.tgale.net/station.html ) and I include this link here so that you can try it now and again and see it as and while it is developed. It as suggested that I provide such a resource so your feedback upon it is welcomed.
On the photography side of things, I have, with the help of my co-director and coordinator Angela, been doing further lining-up for what will now become at least 4 more 'portrait series' - 'Of Opposites', 'Of Achievement', 'Of Ecstasy', 'Of Superlatives', and 'On Reflection'. I have a model for Achievement or for Ecstasy, maybe I have a model for Reflection, and one of the series (I will not say which one...yet...) might even find me on the 'other' side of the camera as the subject.... This, however, I have to discuss with Angela: it has come to the point, I feel I must say, that the ideas that I seem to generate are getting more and more difficult, and what that really means is that I may sow the original seed but it is Angela who nurtures that seed and helps me make it grow and directs it in the right way so that it matures into the final end result that I wanted to start with. She's known me for long enough and we've worked together sufficiently that she's able to see what I'm thinking and what I am trying for. We shall see what transpires - there never seem to be enough hours in the day (or night for that matter!) to do what I wish to complete / achieve / produce / etc.
The radio station itself has yet again been expanded a little, such that it is now easier for me to monitor frequency-bands for both clear areas and for sources of interference and also easier to integrate new equipment of my own design and build as it comes out ready from my workshop. The latest project under way in the workshop is a television receiver for ATV both analog and digital for use on 70cm / 23cm / 13cm / 9cm / 6cm / 3cm wavelength bands.
What needs to be done and a very important improvement is the revision, totally, of the VHU/UHF/SHF antenna stack, which will be mounted newly on an adjustable-height mast in order to overcome certain obstacles that are more and more important as the frequency rises. (A couple images of the some of the existing ones are as follows:-
This needs careful layout and project planning as well as attention to the aspects of the weather here that can be quite harsh for antennas.
We have also had the exterior painter / decorator around the house which was somewhat eventful - due to the high peak of our house roof and associated woodwork, these extremes are more difficult to get to especially at the back of the house as there is no room for scaffolding due to our conservatory 'in the way'. So one of the tried solutions was a 'cherry-picker' mobile crane - and even that wouldn't get to the point needed, I couldn't believe this so I went up in it myself and tried, and it really wouldn't reach that last metre. You can see me going up below:-
Ingrid has been busy amongst other places in the garden, and you can see the general layout below, which also includes some photos of my fucshias which are now getting going again as well:
Well that is all for now, again, so I am going to get back to the production for the next ATV session and to the job of writing this auto-transfer feed software (loads of microprocessor assembler code in that for my own-design signal distribution controller!). Until the next time - Trevor.
Sunday 15th March, 2009:
Finally - My ATV station (PA2TG) is now on-the-air and I took part in this
weekends' ATV sessions.
Here are some still images from ATV and the various transmissions made during the session - they're not named, that would not mean anything to those not involved in any case:-
Prior to this weekend I was at it until the wee hours in the morning, getting the first "final" part of the station completed and modifying my power supply design due to the non-delivery of a power transformer that would have given me significant extra transmitter power [as designed for], but this will be in next week and I will finish that part of the 'rig' as it were.
I finally got off on Friday (well, Saturday morning...) to a start with all the rest of the ATV set-up ready enough; I shall now do some of the tidying-up that needs to be done to finish things neatly.
photographically I have been planning out my next 'portrait' series, 'Of Singularity', which will show a 'blank canvass' and the initial formation of a 'character', through learning, experience, thought, and surroundings: those surroundings include 'Of Duality' and 'Of Opposites' which will make the series actually 1 of 3 series - the first time I'll actually be combining, or 'linking', portrait series together. Different models are used - 1 per series, as before; this series 'Of Singularity' is a nude series which represents the blank canvass of the starting point. Five pictures: left is Duality, right is Opposites, below is what's accumulated so far, upwards is towards what is to come, the futuer, and in the centre loks direct at you, the viewer, what is your input, how did YOU learn?
That's about it for now, it doesn't seem much news but it has been a lot to get hold of in fact - many, many hours.
More to come.
Thursday January 1st, 2009:
A 'rush' of activity in the workshop here - I (PA2TG) am getting on fast with the new ATV (Amateur Television) equipment, andthe first test/intro video has been made. If you're interested, a low-resolution version of that video, made using the same package as an earlier promotion video we did, can be viewed by clicking here and whilst low-quality does show some of the simpler techniques used. For 70cm / 434.250MHz, the linear UHF power amplifier awaits completion, antennas and receiving equipment together with video processing equipment is already proved and operational. After that, comes the 13cm band (2300MHz) and then the full 10GHz/3cm band; these last 2 will have to wait until I get a 'round tuit' - elsewhere I have explained these 'round tuits' which are rare and expensive!
As regards Christmas and New Year, the season went by peacefully and we enjoyed it, at the same time as remembering deceased family, of course. Ingrid did a fine job of the decorations (they come down later today as is her want) and we visited her mother for Christmas Eve and she came around to us for my Christmas Dinner itself; together with my odd snacks it was fine eating indeed. Heard from a few people, friends I haven't met in very many years as well, plus I have been asked to do a specialist restoration job on a radio-phonograph from the States (!) which the owner is willing to ship to me to do and for me to ship it back to her. I don't normally do work such as televisions, hifi's, vintage radios, etc., for other people with 2 exceptions otherwise one becomes inundated with "friends'-mates'-wifes'-son-in-laws'" radios and everything else under the sun and before you know it you no longer have a home but a warehouse full of repair jobs... this is a special, however.
I'll end here by wishing any reader a Happy and more importantly a Healthy 2009 and may you peacefully enjoy what you like doing - Trevor Gale.
Monday December 22nd, 2008:
The three photo session shoots on 4th, 11th and 18th November are finally completed
with a LOT of darkroom work and a lot of looking at negatives and contact
prints, together with a lot of discussion and exchange of thoughts... this
series is certainly the most difficult in terms of portraying the duality that
I have done to date, and I should in all honesty and fairness thank Rachel for
her hard work in modelling for me (I'm not the easiest photographer to work
for, but I think Angela kept me quiet a bit so to speak), and I should also
thank Angela a great deal
for the amount of work she performed to both support this shoot and to check
on my thinking, as it were, as I evaluated all the results to arrive at the
final combination of photographs.
In the Amateur Radio station (PA2TG, ex-G8GFH) I've done a very significant series of re-arrangements and upgrades: most importantly, I have added 70cms, 23cms and 10GHz as ATV receive modes, added a lot of routing of video and audio between the various work areas (computer/video area, radio area, the workshop - for development and testing), and things are nearly ready for ATV transmission also, which hopefully will be part of the capabilities early on in 2009. A great deal of pulling cables was required by this, the number of cables with different connectors for audio and for video to achieve all this is amazing. Added to the station equipment itself, as well as the receive converters and pre-amplifiers, are a new computer for adaptive video presentation and a DVD player which will allow the sending of test or standard information content without recourse to re-loading material segments or to live transmission (which is also facilitated of course, at the flick of a switch); there are also a couple of video processing units of my own design which are built and added to the station. A couple of signal conditioners and data regenerators again of my own design are now added to the H.F. section of the station, extracting the best they can when the reception S/N ratio is otherwise unacceptable.
Specifically, for 70cms ATV there is a new rotatable 17-element horizonally-polarised Yagi, together with a dedicated UHF pre-amplifier for 434MHz and the output of this, after gain, is fed to the receiver software T.V. in the Radio area and also to the Workshop for development of such things as better pre-amplifiers and filters and UHF front ends, etc. It can also be monitored there on a dedicated stand-alone television monitor.
For 13cms an adaptation of an analog satellite-TV unit is employed (the standard for 13cms and above being F.M. television moulation) since the 1240 - 1300MHz band falls withing the tuneable range of this unit; naturally there is also a receive preamplifier for the antenna for this but the one currently used is on a common rotatable mast section with the other 1296MHz, the 432Mhz, 144MHz and 50MHz beam Yagi antennas. If sufficient activity justifies it, this will be added to with a new, separate 13cms Yagi array pair.
For 10GHz / 3cm, a separate rotatable dish, arranged for horizontal polarisation and with a zero-degree elevation (for terrestrial use) is used, again amplified and (switched) to the F.M. T.V. receiver chain.
Well a lot of the latest news is rather technical, but then that's how I have been busy recently so there is the reason behind it. We do wish all and everyone reading this news the very best for a Merry Christmas and above all a Happy, Prosperous and most importantly Healthy New Year. The whole website here will at some point in 2009 undergo a fundamental revision together with a voice-over introduction and background with Angela which we intend to record early on in the New Year. Keeping a complete Website up-to-date and the design and implementation of it is quite a lot of work, and it is not one of my highest priorities and I am not really a computer man, even though I do use processors and write software. So until the next update, Seasons Greetings!
Friday, November 7th, 2008:
SO - On Tuesday 4th November with Angela's help we did the first shoot of 3 expected for my series "Of Duality...", and whilst I was quite nervous [!] before the shoot, once I had set up and we got down to it, it proved to be both hard work and very enjoyable at the same time. This meant, of course, that I had many hours of darkroom work afterwards, but this proved I had the shots more or less as I wanted them. We shall be reviewing them shortly and just possibly some 'thumbnails' of the pre-selection will be put up onto the Web pages I keep. Rachel, the model for this series, experienced the amount of work involved in such a shoot, which is quite extensive, and also the way in which I work, which is probably even more difficult for others[!].
However I am pleased to be back in the creative work mode, as it were, I enjoy doing things like this and it does provide a lot of satisfaction. Prior to this, the radio set-up has also been expended still further with a new 10GHz front-end and receiver set-up and more flexiable signal-routing and monitoring facilities... it's not the end of that story of course, there's even more hardware, software and signal-processing features to be brought into usage. This is 'on hold' for the most part at the moment, since the series photo-shoot and the accompanying work takes precedence here right now.
That's the [short] summary of the news for the moment - Trevor Gale.
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008:
All's well, comparatively, and back from vacation in Wengen [.ch] Well I have done the first test shoots, as some of you are aware, of the up-coming photo-shoot series called "Of Duality", about the message expressed both via the facial expression and the body language, and have selected the model (Rachel) for this shoot which will be co-directed by Angela, a good friend of mine with whom I have worked both on stage and as a model herself before. We made just a few "test" shots and a description of this series which can be seen by clicking here to see what it will all be about.
In the meantime, since then, we've been on vacation at our favourite spot - Wengen, Switzerland (in the Jungfrau region) and had some very pleasant times as well as relaxing with my wife. Just before we went on vacation we lost one of our two remaining cats - he was well into old age and had problems which suddenly arose so we had to take him (Pushy) to the vet; he's now on the other side of the pets' rainbow, as it were. He will always be remembered. As usual, bought some extra good metal tooling at the well-known shop in Interlaken - you pay a few bits extra but the quality of such tools is second to none.
I was also able to get in quite a lot of photography, on one occasion having the clearest, haze-free sunny view of the mountains from Wengenalp that I have ever seen. Also able to walk around with that heavy camera equipment, which is some indication that I am well on the way to full fitness at any rate, taking into account that I am not 25 years old any more (that's on my wish-list!). Now that the vacation is over and I am back in .nl, I am planning the series of photo shoots to make and finish "Of Duality", the model is okay with the unfortnate delay both due to the vacation and to the timing of other things that are going on as it were. Also done some serious up-dating of the Radio Station (amateur radio) and included a new computer to manage these interfaces, and done the same for some instrumentation in the electronics side of the workbench.
Camera-wise, I've up-graded from the more manual RB-67 series of kit to the RZ-67 series, the same size (nice and large) negatives but with a more speedy handling of it all especially in the studio, and I've designed and built some electronics with flash anti-red-eye and exposure control units as well as a remote control facility for this kit. So there's 2 full kits of Mamiya RZ-67 pro, together with a load of gear I have made both on the lathe (metalwork) and the extra electronics, and I've proved it out and am satisfied (very) with this gear.
In Wengen I always write (scribblings, thoughts, feeling, that sort of thing) a great deal more than anywhere else, and this time round I wrote even more than normal - it all needs tidying up of course, but nevertheless...
Also had a new idea with Angela about a new photo series, one showing success, positiveness, satisfaction, etc., which I'll probably call "Of Achievement". This, we still have to discuss more, but is the start of yet another idea; why do I always choose the difficult things to do? ("Because I can't resist the challenge" said Angela)!.
Anyways that's the basic news from here for now, so until I remember to make the next update... regards, F.C.T.G.