Interesting Links

Here’s a roughly categorized list of sites which (I, and possibly) you might find useful in various situations (or if you just need something to read). Some of the sites are those I visit everyday, while others have been instrumental to the exposure of my work (and it is my way of thanking them for their support of my work). Some of them are just websites which I enjoy – like web-comics.

Note that some of the sites are regional-specific, and would be more relevant to those who are living in Australia, specifically Sydney and its surrounds.

Technology News

  • Slashdot – you didn’t even need to guess this one. It’s a daily (if not, several times daily) habit for me to check it. News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters!
  • Overclockers Australia – more local news mixed in with a great forum. Good for “shopping and swapping” amongst other things.
  • Whirlpool – broadband, telecommunications and networking news, mostly Australian.
  • Gizmodo Australia – local tech “stuff” all mixed in.
  • arstechnica – another one of those “tech” sites.
  • Anandtech – very thorough reviews and in depth looks at new technology.
  • TechARP – occasionally handy guides and information about new technology.

Satellite TV Resources

  • Lyngsat – the premier resource of transponder lists, although as usual, some things might be out of date sometimes.
  • Sathint – a secondary source of transponder lists which occasionally is handy to keep up with recent transponder changes.
  • Satbeams – another good resource for coverage footprints.
  • Dishpointer – the best tool to determine the azimuth, elevation and skew for a given satellite at any given place, with map reference so you can judge it using landmarks. Has made dish pointing much simpler for me.
  • Satellite News Digest – a good place to look for upcoming launches and satellite failures.
  • Gunter’s Space Page – for details about the payloads of particular satellites, launch dates, etc.
  • Frequency Plan Satellites – for beacon listings and transponder maps. Very useful.

Amateur Radio

  • ACMA – they set the rules for radio communication, so the latest rules and regulations would be available from them.
  • ACMA Radcoms directory – allows to look up license data to determine who’s operating on a given frequency, or what frequencies are licensed to a given entity.
  • Australian Geographical RadioFrequency Map by Balint Seeber – very useful visualized form of the data available from the Radcoms directory. You can use it to see where your mobile base stations are.
  • Radioreference.com – provides information about trunking systems and a version of DSD (Digital Speech Decoder) for decoding APCO25/DMR transmissions.
  • The Wireless Institute of Australia – the primary body representing the interests of Amateur Radio in Australia. Band Plans, Repeater Directories are available from here.
  • AMSAT.org – the co-ordinating body for amateur radio satellites. Up to date news on operations.
  • Live OSCAR Satellite Status Page – very useful to see if the amateur radio satellite you’re planning on working is actually working.
  • Celestrak – great source of Two-Line Element data for predicting satellite passes and looking for satellite positions.
  • Amateur Radio NSW VK2WI – these guys are part of the WIA and operate the Sunday morning amateur radio news.
  • Waverley Amateur Radio Society VK2BV – good list of local repeaters in Sydney.
  • Manly Warringah Radio Society VK2MB – another local radio society with some interesting projects.
  • HF Propagation and Solar-Terrestrial Data Website – nice source of data to determine what the band conditions are like.
  • Martin E. Meserve – K7MEM – VHF/UHF Yagi Antenna Design – an easy to use calculator if you ever want to build your own Yagi.
  • MultiPSK – multi mode decoder, relatively cluttered and may be buggy on some newer systems.
  • Fldigi – another multi-mode decoder, works fairly well.
  • MMSSTV and MMTTY – best analog SSTV and RTTY decoder.
  • EasyPAL – Digital SSTV decoder.
  • Spectrum Lab – FFT waterwall and digimodes decoder, very versatile.
  • Orbitron – an old but very useful satellite pass prediction and visualization software. Especially like seeing the footprints live, and the radar overhead view to know where to point my antennas!

Shortwave Radio

RTL-SDR Resources

  • rtl-sdr at Osmocom – home of the rtl-sdr libraries.
  • ExtIO USRP by Balint Seeber – allows for RTL2832U dongles to be run with ExtIO supporting SDR front-ends e.g. HD-SDR.
  • rtl-sdr.com – blog focusing on new and exciting things being done with rtl-sdr. Many thanks to them for featuring me several times.
  • rtlsdr.com – another blog focusing on rtl-sdr. They have also featured me once.
  • SDR# – my favourite rtl-sdr application for now. Also offers a simple ADSB program called ADSB#, although decoding performance is average.
  • RTL1090 – alternate ADSB decoder by jetvision.de, also provides Globe-S plotting software.
  • dump1090 – a superior ADSB decoder in my experience, lightweight and runs beautifully on a Raspberry Pi.
  • rtl_433 – a useful piece of software for decoding generic 433.92Mhz temperature sensors.
  • kalibrate-rtl – a software that allows you to finely determine the frequency offset of the crystal in your rtl-sdr dongle using GSM signals. If the offset is too great, you will get the wrong answer though! Must be modified if you want it to run continuously.
  • RTL-SDR Projects – a blog by Nathaniel Elijah which bought us decoding of Efergy Energy Monitors. Many thanks for linking back to my writeup!
  • multimon-ng – decoder supporting various data modes including POCSAG pager modes. Can be used with rtl_fm with output rate of 22050hz.
  • GNU Radio – for serious users, you can do pretty much everything you can imagine but requires expertise and patience. Big and clunky.

Tech Shopping

  • MSY – an old favourite, although much less competitive on price now. Don’t expect good service, but if you know what you want, then this is one way to get it.
  • ARC Computers – they’ve gotten much better for prices now and their service is still good. Recommended.
  • Online Computer – recommended if you’re looking for a laptop. Decent prices, good service. In the city.
  • staticICE – price comparison website for Australian sellers, although beware many sellers “gaming” the system by advertising cheap product prices and expensive shipping.
  • eBay – nothing beats eBay when you’re looking for something cheap, strange and you really don’t mind if it takes a while to get here.

Electronics Shopping

  • element14 – formerly Farnell. Highly recommended, trade counter service available so you don’t have to order online if you live nearby (like me). They also run a community forum for exchange of ideas and help.
  • RS Components – seem to screw up sometimes, but is a viable option and sometimes cheaper.
  • Little Bird Electronics – they are a fairly recent entrant to the electronics market, and operate online. They have grown massively and carry the catalogs of notable guys like Sparkfun, and may carry local stock which makes them quick to deliver. If you look out, you might even get discount codes periodically.
  • Jaycar – generally low quality and high prices but scattered almost everywhere so you might have a chance. Too bad Dick Smith stopped selling components.

Other Resources

  • EEVBlog – The highly charismatic Dave does a boatload of videos about electronics and test equipment, reviews, etc. Always good fun to watch, backed by many years of experience (something I wish I had).
  • BigClivedotcom – Video blogger with lots of teardowns, schematics and explanations – very entertaining indeed.
  • S-manuals.com – SMD marking look-up.
  • EEWeb.com – Electrical Engineering news and community webpage.
  • Adafruit.com – Lady Ada has a great deal of nice tutorials which have taught me a lot and some good gear. She’s an inspiration!
  • Speedtest.net – Ookla’s internet speed test service, also try pingtest.net.
  • Bureau of Meteorology – the only guys I trust for weather data in Australia. Radar data is definitely very handy to use.
  • Google – can’t live without this one, although Startpage is a good choice if you’re sensitive about tracking.
  • Archive.org’s Wayback Machine – great for finding older versions of websites.
  • Youtube – a large repository of videos, but you might find something you were looking for.
  • Facebook – I spend a lot of time here, but it’s worth it since you can use it to collaborate in groups for “legitimate” reasons. And it’s a prominent method of messaging.
  • Twitter – I don’t use this much, but other people do.
  • Google+ – I don’t use it much, but now I have to thanks to Google.
  • Outlook – formerly Hotmail, one of three main providers I use for my e-mail.
  • Yahoo Mail! – old fashioned, and very unreliable as of late.
  • Gmail – much better than all of the above.
  • Wikipedia – the first place to go to when you don’t know what’s going on.
  • sci.electronics.repair FAQ – very informative collections of postings which I learnt much about electronics from reading.
  • The PC Guide! – fairly historical now, but is still a good comprehensive source of helpful information especially for older PC problems.
  • Kryoflux – The best floppy controller, very useful for foreign format disks (i.e. Non IBM).
  • The Software Preservation Society – The guys behind the Kryoflux, I wish them all the success in their noble quest to preserve low-level images of magnetic media containing original software for the future.

Assorted Software

Here’s just some of the software that I use among many many others. Most of these are free (as in no cost), but may not necessarily be open source. It would be too long if I were to list *everything* I used.

  • Arduino – references are very helpful if you need to learn how to use library functions.
  • Raspberry Pi Foundation – useful for updating your Raspberry Pi images.
  • rpi-update – kernel updates for Raspberry Pi.
  • dd-wrt – aftermarket router firmware.
  • openwrt – another alternative router firmware with package customizations.
  • Lubuntu – my favourite Linux distribution at the moment, especially because I use many older computers for my hobbies. The LXDE interface is fast and efficient.
  • Spywareblaster – pre-emptive blocking protection for dangerous sites.
  • Mozilla Firefox – still my favourite browser thanks to all the add-ons.
  • Google Earth – handy for interpreting and plotting GPS tracks.
  • GPSBabel – excellent tool for converting GPS tracks between formats.
  • LogMeIn Hamachi – VPN software.
  • UltraVNC – VNC remote control server and client with file transfer ability.
  • K-Lite Codec Pack – easy way to make sure you can play almost anything. Includes MPC-HC (my favourite media player).
  • VLC Media Player – also another good media playing solution especially for network streams.
  • ProgDVB – good tuning application for watching satellite and terrestrial TV from BDA compatible tuners, and from network streams.
  • TSReader – transport stream analysis tool.
  • CrazyScan – satellite card spectrum plotting and IQ graphing. Advanced blind-scan for supported cards.
  • WinRAR – my usual compression tool.
  • Skype – indispensable VoIP service, tunnels through almost anything.
  • CrystalDiskInfo – a SMART data viewer, with resident, alert and graphing abilities. Also check out CrystalDiskMark from the same author as a storage benchmark.
  • Wireshark – acclaimed packet capture and analysis tool.
  • Imgburn – free CD/DVD/BD burning software, compact and very featureful.
  • Filezilla – free FTP client – the one I used to get this website up and running!
  • PuTTY – SSH, Telnet client for Windows.
  • WinSCP – secure copy client for Windows.
  • Cygwin – a UNIX-like environment for Windows – quite useful for recompiling software for use in Windows and to use gcc to compile hobby C programs.
  • ToR – free anonymizing proxy with SOCKS interface.
  • Privoxy – a HTTP proxy with forwarding, useful for non-SOCKS capable programs.
  • Mediacoder – media transcoding solution with wide format support and many advanced options.

Comics and Fun

Other Blogs

  • sparcie – a blog which focuses on retro software and hardware. Some of his posts were very interesting to me, and his comments on this blog were very insightful. Worth a read.
  • VK4ZXI – Dr Andrew Wollin’s blog, with some interesting digital mode and SDR work. Quite interesting, and I thank him for his comments.
  • Mike Xeno – a bit of a mix of things just like this blog. I am grateful to be linked by his blog.
  • Rip It Apart – a mix of different random tech stuff including reviews, tests, software development, opinions and more – a little like this site :).

I hope you managed to find something you enjoy :).

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