Stuff I'm Up To

Technical Ramblings

Setting up Baofeng UV-5R for PMR 446 — May 11, 2017

Setting up Baofeng UV-5R for PMR 446

Yes, it is illegal so don’t press the transmit button

1. Reset the radio to factory defaults

Goto Menu 40 (Press Menu followed by 40 or use up down to scroll to RESET ALL)

Press Menu to move the select down to ALL, press Menu. Press Menu to confirm, then Menu again to reply to SOURCE? (Which I’m sure is a bad translation of SURE?)

2. Set the Language.

The Radio will restart and now speak in Chinese. Great if you speak Chinese.

Set it back to English by pressing Menu 14 to get to VOICE, press Menu to move the selector to CHI, press UP or DOWN to get to ENG, press Menu to confirm.

Turn off and on radio it should be in English now.

3. Set the Step to 6.25k

Goto Menu 1, press Menu to move the selector down. Press 2, and when it shows 6.25k press Menu to confirm.

4. Enter in the first PMR 446 frequency

Press VOF/MR to until it says “Frequency Mode”

Type in 446006, it will show 446.006 you’ll see a tiny 25 to the right of it.

5. Save this as channel 1

Goto Menu 27, press Menu to move the selector down, press UP until you reach 001 – this is channel 1. Press Menu to store this current frequency as channel 1.

6. Setup the other 7 channels

This shouldn’t require any more typing of channel numbers.

Press VOF/MR until it says “frequency mode”. You should see your 466.00625 channel

Press UP twice and it should show 446.01875 this is channel 2.

Save it into channel 2 using the same process as step 5.

Exit the menu (Press Exit) and you’re back at your frequency 446.01875

Now it’s just a case of pressing UP twice to raise the frequency to the next channel and save each channel until you reach 8.

The full list of channels should look like:

  1. 446.00825
  2. 446.01875
  3. 446.03125
  4. 446.04375
  5. 446.05625
  6. 446.06875
  7. 446.08125
  8. 446.09375

7 . Deleting Channels

If you want to delete channels 0 and 127 just goto Menu 28, press Menu to drop the selector down, press UP or DOWN to choose the channel to delete and confirm by pressing Menu.

8. Show Channels instead of Frequencies

Just my preference, but in Channel Mode I want it to show the channel number not the 446 frequency.

Goto Menu 21 (MDF-A), press Menu to drop the selector, use UP or DOWN to scroll to CH. Do the same for Menu 22 and now you’ll see CH-001 etc. on the screen when in Channel Mode.

HTTPS on the Synology NAS — April 25, 2017

HTTPS on the Synology NAS

I love this Synology NAS. It’s so versatile and immensely capable. I use it for streaming my TV, movies and music. It also acts as my Couchpotato, Sonarr and NZBGet system. I think I’ll definitely get another when the time comes.

But enough glorification.

Using the free certificate services from Let’s Encrypt you can obtain a FREE TLS/SSL certificate that you can use on any of your encryption services with the one caveat that it will expire every 3 months.

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Raspberry Echo – Alexa — February 21, 2017

Raspberry Echo – Alexa

When the Amazon Echo first came out I was looking at them in earnest, but decided I couldn’t justify the expense for something that I may lose interest in or not really make use of. A friend had an Amazon Echo Dot and combined that with a smart Lightwave RF lighting system in his new apartment I had to admit it was a very nice feature. But still I held back.

Then I discovered that you could install Alexa onto a Raspberry Pi!

As I have more than a few Raspberry Pi’s and a spare, here or there, left over from upgrading others, I thought I’d give it a go.

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Raspbian & Realtek 8192eu WiFi — February 19, 2017

Raspbian & Realtek 8192eu WiFi

Probably the best way to get Raspbian up and running over Wifi is to use an out of the box supported Wifi adapter. But as things move on faster Wifi becomes available and not all of the USB adapters are ready to play.

One that I bought recently was one with a Realtek 8192eu chipset. This is supposed to deliver 300Mbps Wifi, but comes at the price of not being natively supported by Raspbian.

I could go install the build essentials and try to compile the driver myself. But that seems like a lot of work.

So a little digging around and I found it’s pretty straight forward to get going and it’s not a problem unique to me. Someone else has already created the necessary drivers all I need to do is install them.

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Updating Newznab — December 23, 2016

Updating Newznab

Newznab is a Usenet indexing server. It’s a very powerful spider that grabs details of all kinds of Usenet posts in the groups you’re interested in. It then indexes and stores them as NZB files so you can download complete releases.

I’ve found that running it helps me find books as not many out there seem to interested in indexing the book groups. It’s probably not of much interest to you unless you’re also looking to index content that isn’t common place. Most indexers out there cover Music, TV and Movies – so you’ll probably find little use for it.

As I don’t actually run it that often, because it’s not everyday I’m looking for a book. Updating it periodically is something I often forget how to do properly.

$ cd /var/www/newznab
$ svn update .
$ cd misc/update_scripts
$ php ./update_database_version.php
Github — December 12, 2016


I’ve had a few little dealings with Github in the past as a contributor, but thought as I’m working on a project that borrows from a lot of code that is “sociably” hosted on Github by many Open Source developers, I thought I’d take the opportunity to put something back.

So what is Github?

It’s a location for Gits! So more importantly what is Git? Git is a version control mechanism that allows you to manage and maintain a folder structure, recording and monitoring changes as you develop. So Github is an online repository to publish your Gits.

Once published the whole world can see your code and your changes. Not only that they can clone your work, make changes and submit the changes back to you for inclusion in your project.

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Node.js, Zip & RAR files — December 7, 2016

Node.js, Zip & RAR files

What an excursion this turned out to be. I figured using 7-zip would be the panacea for compressed files. How wrong could I be?

Turns out that the node-7z module is restricted to only being able to use the 7-zip v9 series. Any of the newer v15 and above don’t work. This is simply because node-7z uses the stdout from the 7z processes to get the list of extracted files. The newer 7z doesn’t report the extracting progress in the same way.

That’s not the only problem. If I want truly cross platform I have to use programs that are available on those platforms. So on Linux I have to rely on p7zip or p7zip-full to handle my archives. These are only compatible with 7-zip v9, so that should be fine right?

Well, no, that’s not where the problems happen. 7-zip v9 doesn’t support the newer RAR formats. So many of the RAR files I’m trying to extract don’t get extracted, because 7-zip can’t read them.

This leaves me with having to use the unrar program by calling it from the shell in the same way as 7z.

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CBR-Manager — December 5, 2016
Learning Electron & Node.js — November 29, 2016

Learning Electron & Node.js

Many years ago in a galaxy far, far away I developed an application to manage and read my comic books. I developed it in a Windows environment and used C# Dot Net to build it. It worked just great and I still use it today.

It’s actually one of the things I use that prevents me from going full Linux on my home desktop. So I decided I’d see if I could remedy that by replacing it with a cross platform solution using Electron.

If nothing else it would provide me with an opportunity to learn how to use Electron & Node.js

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Electron, 7-zip & Images — November 25, 2016

Electron, 7-zip & Images

The app I’m trying to create reads image files from a compressed file. either a zip, a rar or 7-zip format. The aim is to then extract the first image from the file and use that to make a thumbnail that can be displayed in an electron browser page.

Sounds easy? But I’ve been through lot’s of different uncompress/decompress libraries from the npm package manager and none of them have really fitted the bill. In fact the current choice I see as a bit of a compromise.

To make the app truly cross platform I was hoping for a self contained library that ran the decompression algorithms natively within Node.js/Javascript. There are a few out there, many for handling zip files, but when it comes to rar the perfomance and capabilities are really lacking.

Continue reading — September 27, 2016 is a very helpful little plugin for Kodi. What makes it so helpful is that it acts as a backup of what I’ve watched and how far through a series I am. After every movie or TV program it asks me to rate the show (optional). More importantly it records that I’ve watched it by “scrobbling” (just sending what I watched and when) up to the portal and records it on my profile.

I’m sure it collects my viewing habits and does some strategic selling of my statistics somewhere along the line. But fair play to them. If I wanted to I could join in with the whole social aspect of discussing what I’ve watched, but what I get out of it happens when I reinstall Kodi. I activate the plug-in, it then syncs with my profile and marks all the local media I’ve actually watched as watched.

So I always know where I’m at.

OSMC Installation — September 24, 2016

OSMC Installation

I’ve been a fan and user of OpenELEC on my Raspberry Pi’s for some time. It’s always performed great and was pretty straightforward to install and use. But it seems the developers are struggling to keep up with the releases of Kodi.

This isn’t necessarily a problem. It’s not like I need a new Kodi when the version I have works just fine. But I ran into OSMC and it has a newer version of Kodi and promised to be just as straight forward.

… and you know what? It really was.

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