The "New Toys" Thread

Blind_Io

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Ah, okay. So, as illegal as the Baofengs. :D
Not exactly, with ham radio it's the operator who is licensed and has to transmit within their bands. If a non licensed person purchased and used this radio it would be illegal because the operator isn't licensed - as long as I stay in my bands, I'm fine. I don't thing the software let's you transmit where the radio isn't supposed to be, such as GMRS and FRS frequencies.
 
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Perc

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Radio is an interesting business. There's a radio manufacturer called President which makes products called Harry, Barry, Lincoln etc. See a pattern here?

"President Lincoln" is officially a ham radio device and completely legal on ham radio bands. They made it veeeery easy for the end user to modify it to work on CB frequencies, though.
 

93Flareside

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could I use the baofeng to listen to really any band? I’m next to some train tracks and would be curious to hear that. While probably not smart, but could you also set it up to listen in on police bands? I haven’t touched my Baofeng since the 2019 roadtrip and @leviathan set it up for me then. All I know is save A and B are bands used by FG folk on european trips.
 

Blind_Io

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You can legally listen to anything that's out there, regulations are only for transmission.
 

GRtak

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You can legally listen to anything that's out there, regulations are only for transmission.


Just not in the car* unless a HAM radio operator, or other local license allows it. BTW, most cops don't know these things, so be prepared to quote the law that allows it.
 

93Flareside

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, most cops don't know these things, so be prepared to quote the law that allows it.
I’m under the impression that cops only know how to operate speed guns and write tickets with the ticket printing machine.
 

Blind_Io

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Just not in the car* unless a HAM radio operator, or other local license allows it. BTW, most cops don't know these things, so be prepared to quote the law that allows it.
Cops rarely know the law aside from traffic enforcement. I've had clients try to file reports for everything from battery to identity theft turned away from the PD and told "It's a civil matter."
 

Tram

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This is quite an interesting one for me: it's a DIY handheld console made by a company I worked in.

IMG_20210217_151015_013.jpg


The interesting bit is that the company's owned by my brother's school friend, who founded the company when he was still in high school, and who's now 22. Another interesting bit is that you have to assemble the console with your own hands. It's not complicated at all, as it's meant for 7+ year olds, but it does involve some soldering. This means this is the first time I did some actual soldering, and the thing works! Well, apart from one button that I didn't seat in properly before soldering into place, but I presume that can be fixed.

IMG_20210217_193503_001_COVER.jpg


On the latter picture you can even see my masterpiece soldering joints! I even managed to burn some of the printing on the PCB around the joints. Excuse the craptastic photos, as I only had my phone while I was taking them.

And I promise, this is not a promo post! I haven't been working for that company for year and a half now and I don't think the console is available any longer. As a cherry on top, I paid €15 for it on sale in Kaufland, while it initially retailed for three times as much there, and even more on their website. :D
 

Matt2000

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Got myself one of these cheap DAC units to combine PC and TV output as well as provide some tone control for my headphones:

1613695997099.png



It will also become my main volume control and I’ll mount it somewhere I can reach it while lounging back in my chair. An acceptable compromise now I’ve lost remote control of the volume on my amp.
As usual for me, things aren't quite as straight forward as you would expect.

  • The converted signal from my TV has a very low volume so I've had to reduce the volume of my PC to match, no biggie.
  • Plugging in headphones cuts the main output, I don't want to keep plugging and unplugging them so have used a piggyback RCA cable and RCA to 3.5mm adapter so I can use the main output to the amp for my headphones too.
  • I want to keep the amp set at a volume acceptable for CD/cassette/turntable/tuner inputs so I set that first and then balanced it with this volume control. At the right level, the headphones are too loud. Cue another volume control unit to bring that down to the right level.
Still, can't complain for £40 as it combines the two inputs so I'm not constantly changing inputs on the Atelier and wearing it out. Sounds nice too, the DAC chip is apparently the same one as my motherboard uses so it sounds just as good. Now I just need a longer optical cable.
 
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93Flareside

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It will also become my main volume control

I always wanted the Mackie Big Knob for this sort of thing.

mackie-big-knob-21048.jpg


It would fit in with my Mackie studio monitors... hmm.
 

GRtak

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Matt2000

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My alternative was pretty similar if I had to stick to a pair of RCA sources, the ART SCC:

1613724489686.png

It has a separate headphone level control which would've been nice, it wants balanced inputs though which could've been problematic. The Mackie didn't show up when I was searching, it's pretty similar and doesn't appear to need balanced inputs. Other than being massive overkill it's nice. Similar price to the SCC too.
 

Perc

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Things! Stuff!

Mac Mini M1, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Replaced a MacBook Pro that had been sitting on my desk 99% of the time over the last year anyway.
1614254649690.png


And to bring my network up to speed, one of these.

1614254818141.png


Since the router will be placed next to my tv, I got a cheap 8-port gig switch to hide in the TV bench. This way I don't have to run more ethernet ports to and from the router than absolutely necessary.


1614254783844.png
 

Perc

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Yeah, no.

The Wi-Fi in the Alien delivers somewhere between 80 and 150 megs, usually around 100. Wired performs fine. This POS is going back.
 

NooDle

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Very weird. It isn’t located in a corner somewhere, or even worse, inside or behind a closed cabinet(this happens, people are idiots).

Another thing some of you guys may be able to help me with. My modem/router combi provided by my ISP works fine once setup properly, but it is a veritable xmas tree when it comes to flickering LEDs. With all the lights off, it’s easily enough to light up the entire room. It isn’t turnoffable (yes thats a word) in the settings, but how can I kill (or dim) the brightness? Drives me crazy when I’m trying to watch tv in a dimly lit room...

And no, putting it in a drawer or cabinet isn’t an option since that kills my wifi speed
 

Perc

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Very weird. It isn’t located in a corner somewhere, or even worse, inside or behind a closed cabinet(this happens, people are idiots).

Another thing some of you guys may be able to help me with. My modem/router combi provided by my ISP works fine once setup properly, but it is a veritable xmas tree when it comes to flickering LEDs. With all the lights off, it’s easily enough to light up the entire room. It isn’t turnoffable (yes thats a word) in the settings, but how can I kill (or dim) the brightness? Drives me crazy when I’m trying to watch tv in a dimly lit room...

And no, putting it in a drawer or cabinet isn’t an option since that kills my wifi speed

Black electric tape or black marker fixes annoying blinky wi-fi lights.

Until now I've been using my cable modem for wi-fi, and it's capable of maxing out my 250Mbit/s internet connection even though I actually do keep it hidden inside my TV bench.

I forgot to mention that wi-fi speeds over LAN were fine, like pulling a file from the NAS. 5-600Mbit/s easily. It's just wi-fi speeds from the internet that were shit. It's not a case of bad reception.

I don't think I messed up the setup either since the entire process is as follows:
- Connect internet and power
- Launch Amplifi app
- App finds the unconfigured modem over BT
- App asks you to name your network and give it a password. Done.

I think you even could skip steps 2 through 4 if you want, since it has a built-in touchscreen. I'm sure it's possible to create a generic network name and random password through that. The setup process was awesomely simple really, but that doesn't help if the damn thing performs like 802.11n.
 

Matt2000

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Probably time to mention something I bought the other week after seeing it... somewhere. A pack of LightDim stickers:

1614343132915.png


Not a toy as such but very useful. I have some black masking tape and have mainly used that up to now but these are so much better. They claim to reduce bright LEDs by 80%, I can't test that but they certainly deal with pesky dazzling lights without completely blocking them.

They stick well but can be fiddly little buggers, I find that placing them with a small screwdriver is best like model car decals.
 
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