Category Archives: Radio

Using A Computer With No Internet Connection

Using A Computer With No Internet Connection

What if you woke up and there was no internet connection?

No Wifi Area Sign 2315098 Vector Art at VecteezyI have written similar blogs a couple of times in the past but like to keep it up to date as technology cruises forward or if I discover new hardware.  Just what would you do if you woke up and there was no internet connection?  This could be due to a massive telecom hack, or natural disaster, or an act of war.

Surprisingly, your computer can do quite a lot without a network connection, even if you can’t picture in your mind how that could be.  Let’s explore how we can use a computer with no internet connection.

What Can We Do With No Internet Connection?

Quite a bit actually.  Let me make a quick list:

  • GPS
  • Radio (AM, FM, shortwave, weather, air band, etc.)
  • Television
  • Monitor Emergency Communications (Police, Fire, EMS, Military, etc.)
  • Establish Emergency Communications between computer using Long Range Radio  (LoRa)
  • Track Weather Satellites and download weather data
  • Program Radios with CHIRP
  • Files such as manuals
  • Entertainment such as books, magazines, music, and movies

Let’s build our SHTF machine, shall we?
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Weather Radios and Shit

Okay, the first Tropical Depression of 2020 is upon us a few weeks early and literally the only place in the US it is going to hit is HERE.  Eastern NC.  Shit.

Probably the best source for emergency weather, even better than your local news station is the National Weather Service (NWS) or NOAA Weather Radio station in your local area.   The frequencies they transmit on are:

162.400
MHz
162.425
MHz
162.450
MHz
162.475
MHz
162.500
MHz
162.525
MHz
162.550
MHz

To receive these broadcasts though you need a specialized radio that covers Very High Frequencies or VHF.  Your FM radio only goes to about 108 MHz.  A hardwire police scanner can probably be programmed, or a marine radio, or definitely an RTL-SDR software defined radio will work.

I have several radios I use for weather and one of my favorites is the CCrane 2E radio which is pretty expensive as far as radios go. I never really gave it much of a thought or a concern but the last major weather event in New Bern, NC was a fast moving storm replete with Tornados.  And for good measure it hit near midnight.

Turns out the storm wasn’t as bad as predicted but there were a couple tornados and a couple of systems producing tornados.  Every time there was movement or an event we’d get an NWS alert (loud tone) followed by voice.  Most of the alerts WERE FROM ADJACENT COUNTIES NOWHERE NEAR US.  Once most of the danger passed we were still getting CONSTANT alerts which were keeping us on edge and keeping us awake.

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It’s The End Of The World As We Know It – I Feel Fine

This last week or two has been one of the most bizarre in my 57 years however the chaos all seems confined to Social Media and Media in general.  People are still nice, commerce is still chugging along.  If we didn’t own TV’s and computers we’d never know much was up.

In an attempt to get the REAL story I’ve been creeping on the Police Scanner and the State medical communications.  It’s not been very interesting.  Boring in fact.  If there is a coverup, the people with the radios are covering up their coverup.

Anyway, like REM says, “I Feel Fine”.  Not just figuratively but literally as well.  I’m ready for the whole of humanity to let the crazy out.  I have ample food, a gun with bullets, clean water, communication devices, and alternative power. And most importantly it would seem……..toilet paper.

Bring it on!
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Best Tech of 2019?

So here it is, New Years Eve…….I’m up at 1 AM and reading “Best Tech of The Year” articles.  Either one of two things has happened.  Either nothing tremendously wonderful happened in Tech this year or the imagination and writing skills of journalists are now nearly non-existent.

Every list shows the latest cell phones or drones, or gaming device or newest TV offering.  I’m sorry, but that just isn’t that inspiring to me.   I may be a dinosaur but newer is not always better.  Case in point.  Look up the home entertainment category and most lists have some SONOS player.  That’s a networked streaming audio system.

I’ve been using Logitechmediaserver so many years it isn’t funny.  It streams Spotify, Tidal, TuneIn, Pandora (I dropped my Pandora subscription) and many, many more services.

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How To Add an OLED To A Zumspot DMR Hotspot

I got the distinct honor of speaking at the local Amateur Radio Club last night and it caused me to dust the, errrrrrr, dust off of my DMR Hotspots.    After the club meeting I came back and updated the OS’s (PiStar) on my Zumspot and JumboSpot and updated the firmware as well.

The JumboSpot has one distinct advantage over the Zumpsot I have.  It has a cool OLED display.

That got me to thinking.  I could probably add an OLED to my Zumspot.   I could. Here’s how you do that:

Zumspot OLED (click to enlarge)

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Why Is Radio So Important To Me?

Thought I’d do some philosophical stuff today instead of technical stuff today.  Beware.

One of the things that first fascinated me as a little kid (besides baseball and before women) was radio.  Specifically short wave radio.  We had a world band radio in the house and it had the TV audio band.  I used to think that was so cool.  Then along came Citizens Band (CB) radio.  Oh God how I loved that.   I really find that odd because now at my advanced age of 57, and the fact I’m a licensed Ham, I really don’t care to talk.

But oh how I love to listen.  I almost don’t care what I’m listening to as long as I’m LISTENING.

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RTL-SDR Fun

One of my favorite hobbies of course is radio.  I own a few.

I think the most interesting “radios” are RTL-SDR devices.  The RTL stands for Realtek (which is the chipset) and SDR stands for Software Defined Radio.

They only cost a few bucks for a “generic” one and there are more sensitive and selective ones that cost bigger bucks.

Essentially if it is a radio signal of some kind, with a $20 USB Software Defined Radio you can listen to or decode a multitude of radio traffic/chatter.  In fact it seems darn near illegal, and sometimes it is.  I have other blog pages with this information but I’m just going to re-hash what I’ve been up to this week.

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Radio – An Observation

Radio.  It’s an interesting medium.  From Edison to Marconi it has been with us since the late 1800’s.  Among the first wireless, commercial transmissions were referred to as Marconi-grams.

Marconigram Mar*coni*gram, n. [Marconi + –gram.] same as {radiogram}; a wireless message. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

Transmitting messages wirelessly became preferable over wired transmissions referred to as the telegraph.   In 1920 our world changed as KDKA, a government radio station was thrust upon the airwaves and commercial radio kicked off.   The BBC in England followed suit around 1922.

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Chuwi HI10 Air Windows Tablet Review For RTL-SDR

Batten down the hatches and store food.   The end is near.  I bought a Windows Device and I am going to review it.

Let’s be clear.  I F’n-ing hate Windows.  I have been using Linux and Mac way before it was cool to do so.  Windows is an abomination.  That being said I have long since owned a Vinyl Sign Cutting machine.  The very best software for it runs on Windows.  Also recently I bought an SDRPlay RSPDuo and the only real software to exploit it properly is called SDRUno and it is Windows only.

This is a review for a Chuwi HI10 Air Tablet .  I bought it EXCLUSIVELY for using RTL-SDR radios on.  If you are looking for a review of how well this tablet does ANYTHING besides RTL-SDR, then by golly you are in the wrong place.

I travel a lot and I love listening to radio signals and like it or not I just need to carry around a Windows device.

Sure I can run Windows in a Virtual environment but I’m kind of king of the low power devices (read:  CHEAP) and the things I try to do require more power and speed than what I typically carry around.

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How Do You Like To Listen To Shortwave?

Probably not a lot of us shortwave junkies out there.  That being said there are several ways to listen.

  • Portable shortwave
  • Tabletop shortwave with external antenna
  • RTL-SDR
  • Internet based SDR

Probably missing something but those are the ways I can do it at Castle Hagensieker.  And while I own many, many portable shortwave radios……………

I have pretty much two preferred ways to listen.

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