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Another interesting week

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[Monday: 3 miles; Wednesday: 3 miles; Saturday: 6 miles in the woods]

We had a good week. Wednesday was our spring show-and-tell event at the office. Because of the virus restrictions we were not able to do the in-person demonstration we had planned for. But we had a Skype meeting with a bunch of people attending and it turned out OK. My part of the presentation went OK.

The virus thing is starting to cramp my internet shopping style. Late in the week I saw an ad from a guy wanting to sell a nice digital camera for a very good price. But it was in a neighboring state, one which has more strict travel restrictions in place. I didn’t feel like I could call this an emergency of any kind. So I asked if he would ship, but he wouldn’t. Then I asked if he would come over the border to our state and do the transfer there. He agreed to that. So we drove a bit and met the guy and bought the camera. From the low price, it may well have been an emergency in his estimation.

When we ran on Saturday morning it was at a local park that has lots of trails. We had done this before but it was last fall some time. This time there were some people at the trail head and I spent about 10 uncomfortable minutes trying to give my always gregarious wife the sign that we should be going down the trail and not conversing with strangers about all of the fantastic races they had done.

That’s another feature of the virus situation. Usually I would just wait. But now I’m thinking if that guy steps a bit closer I’m going to tell him to step back. (He was about 7-8 feet away.)

I spent some time this week trying to revive my WWVB clock project. I wrestled with it and just could not get it to receive the signal. I reworked it a couple of different ways. Then, this morning I did one last thing and it all started working. I think the main culprit was that my connecting wires were picking up too much noise. It worked most of the day. This evening I have some noise back on the signal. I think there may be a local noise source in the neighborhood near 60 kHz which is causing intermittent trouble. I had that problem previously. But I saw enough life today to be convinced that my fundamentals are OK.

The next thing I want to do is decode the phase modulation. It was starting down that path that messed me up. So I think I’m going to leave this current design as is and do a parallel effort on the phase modulation. That way I would know if the signal is just too noisy to be received at the moment.

My desktop PC runs Ubuntu Linux. It is an old Dell Optiplex 755 small-form box. I got it used along with a couple of others. It was built in 2008 and has a Windows Vista sticker on it. Recently I changed the coin-cell battery in it. I am still having sudden freezing and spontaneous reboots, especially when I am playing videos.

I changed out the video card. And I changed out the power supply. But it is still doing it. So I think I’m going to start watching for a new desktop to replace it. If I get another Dell I can move my SSD hard drive over and just keep rolling, I hope.

Apr 12, 2020
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