How I feel

When I go to the hackspace sometimes…

 

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It’s oveeeeer (the AGM)

Massive thanks to everyone who attended and raised points.

After a number of years sterling service, we’re sad to announce that Mick has stepped down as Director. Mick has been a LHS director since we were in the previous space and has been instrumental in putting us into profit and sorting out the finances. I’m extremely sorry to see him go and massively thank him for all the work done (insert mailing-list compatible standing ovation here).

Fresh from the success of the Cube, we’re pleased to announce that Matt Collins has stepped up and joined the directorship. He was nominated by a couple of people and confirmed unanimously.

Minutes and other paperwork to come shortly, but thanks again to everyone who’s been involved over the past year; old faces and new.

Fligg.

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Reminder: AGM

There will be an AGM tonight (Tuesday 14th October), the meeting is open to all (member and non-members alike) and is a chance to discuss issues around the space, review activities that have taken place over the year, and put forward suggestions about Hackspace. There will also be elections for the positions of Directors of the space.

If you have and points of order/interest that you would like raising add them below or to the mailing list and we can get a running order together.

Hope to see you there!

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It Lives!

This is not the matrixTo see more you’ll need to come to Light Night Leeds on 3rd October – you’ll find us in Leeds City Museum!

[osm_map lat="53.802" lon="-1.547" zoom="17" width="600" height="450" marker="53.80157,-1.5469" marker_name="marker_blue.png"]

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Attention!

There will be an AGM on Tuesday 14th October, the meeting is open to all (member and non-members alike) and is a chance to discuss issues around the space, review activities that have taken place over the year, and put forward suggestions about Hackspace. There will also be elections for the positions of Directors of the space.

If you have and points of order/interest that you would like raising add them below or to the mailing list and we can get a running order together.

Hope to see you there!

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Pints of water all round!

IMG_20140914_171411Today saw the inaugural meeting of the Leeds HackSpace “You better believe I’m going to taste all the ingredients” (Lick All The Things!) Brewers and caffeine aficionados society (name to be confirmed).

tldr: Equipment was sterilised, water was boiled and secret ingredients were weighed out to 2 decimal places of precision. Oh -and there’s a good chance we’ve actually made some beer, too!  (read more for how it went down)
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Awesome continues……

BoardsOur lonely little circuit board now has 511 friends and Light Night is fast approaching. Construction continues.

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Beware! The UberCube is coming!

PixelIt doesn’t look much does it? How could something this mundane unleash such huge amounts of awesome?

Keep watching to find out!

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Virtual Radar

Since both the hackspace, and my home are fairly close to the approach to Leeds/Bradford airport, and I’ve always had an interest in aircraft I’ve often wondered what was flying around, so decided that building my own virtual radar system would be an interesting project.

Having previously experimented with using a USB tv tuner as a software defined radio I settled on a Beaglebone Black and E4000 tuner (very inexpensive, available on ebay). The required software is rtl-sdr (a library for using the tv tuner as a software defined radio) and dump1090 (which uses rtl-sdr to decode the aircraft broadcasts).

Standard Dump1090 output.

A quiet tuesday evening with little air traffic.

Having installed debian on a spare micro SD card and compiled the software a quick test with the aerial included with the tv tuner proved that the whole setup worked and was happily picking up aircraft approaching the airport, the next step was a better aerial. I opted for a colinear aerial, which can be constructed from nothing more than a length of coaxial cable and some tape to hold it together. Construction details can be found here. The finished aerial was sealed into a length of 21.5mm overflow pipe to avoid water getting into the coax and affecting reception.

Performance with the new aerial is much improved, and gives a range of approximately 100 miles with the aerial simply placed on a roof. Range is approximately halved if the aerial is mounted internally. Hopefully a range improvement can be gained when the aerial is properly mounted above the roofline.

Scatter plot of aircraft positions.

Scatter plot of aircraft positions.

Using an improved version of the dump1090 software with integrated mysql logging gives a number of additional possibilities, a scatter plot of the logged tracks nicely shows the routes in use. Adding extra tables to the database schema to hold aircraft information can allow you to search flights on aircraft type and owner/operator, revealing interesting patterns in the users of UK airspace.

Aircraft data mapped to icao24 identifiers.

Aircraft data mapped to icao24 identifiers.

Future improvements include better aerial positioning, the possible addition of extra receiver nodes, and a high gain directional yagi aerial allowing longer range reception in any direction of interest (based on a design from this yagi calculator – details will be provided in a future blog post).

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While tomorrow’s workshop is on…

A quick reminder: There is a workshop ongoing at Leeds Hackspace tomorrow 1330- 1630. The space hasn’t been closed to other members during that time but other members are asked to try not to interfere/ disrupt the workshop and as ever please see rule 1. Thank you.

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