Brain sludge.

Earlier this morning while actually feeling the effects of my brain trying to malfunction its way into full on migraine headache, I started to ponder for a moment if years of living with stress, sleep deprivation, and anxiety had left me with the brain chemistry of an abandoned swimming pool.

Nah. It’s not that bad— migraines just suck. Basically, the brain entirely misfires and screws up, best I can understand of the medical science behind it. It’s like when you’re playing a pinball game and a multiball begins and the balls all immediately loft off of each other and off of the slingshots and other unpleasant parts of the playfield and suddenly drain at the left and right outlanes and SDTM (straight down the middle).

But then I had this one intrusive thought, or more like, memory, that keeps haunting me to this day. WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT MYSTERY PARTY EVERY WEEKEND?

 

It was, oh, 2004 or so. The Quad was a neverending source of excitement in my neighborhood but there was one thing that I could never, ever figure out. It was fairly harmless, except to one’s sense of logic and reason, trying to figure out what it was or why it was happening.

 

Our house was in the middle of the block on the south side. On the northeast corner of the block was a house on a slightly large lot which had a big yard and a large covered patio on the back. There was an extended family living there, which isn’t uncommon at all. Every now and then they had parties which had a lot of people in attendance – seemed like most of them were family for the most part.

 

I suspect the house changed ownership as I saw different vehicles outside and an older lady who used to walk around the block every day wasn’t there anymore. I never really spoke to them much as the language barrier was pretty bad – I’ve never spoken enough Spanish to hold a conversation and they didn’t speak English. Everything thus had a kind of mystery about it— but then came the really… really big mystery.

 

The family there started holding parties every weekend and brought in a DJ (by which I mean some guy who had a mixer, iTunes, and a set of speakers). The first couple of weekends, it was just blasting salsa, reggaeton, and random pop music, with his voice occasionally booming over it all distorted. The music was POWERFULLY loud and was very audible inside our concrete block house, probably a good 300 feet away. They’d start up maybe 1 or 2 pm, and it’d be over by like 6 or so, never running into the night (thank goodness). Cars would be parked on the swale all over the block from the people in attendance. Following these first 2 or 3 unremarkable parties, they developed a unique and bizarre format, and that is what haunts me to this day. What was this and WHY?

In radio, a lot of programming adheres to a format clock which dictates what goes where in each hour. There are certain times for the break, station identification, locally inserted advertising/sponsorship, etc. In television it’s the same way but a little more standardized between shows. These parties—- they… could have had a format clock, because they all ran exactly the same. I don’t know what the hell they were doing but it was like this:

12-1 PM: Setup with random music playing, no voice.

1:00 PM: Music cuts off, followed by talking on the mic

1:05 PM: Beginning of Dragostea Din Tei loop.

…..

6:20 PM: Burst of shouting followed by the party ending.

 

Now, the loop is the super perplexing part.

Each cycle of it started with the guy shouting. His voice was heavily distorted, and I was hearing the reflection off houses and the back side of the speakers so it was muffled beyond recognition. I was never once able to understand what he’d say on each cycle.

He’d start shouting something (unintelligible due to the distortion and echo between the houses) then start playing what’d be 30 seconds of the chorus of Dragostea Din Tei.

(this video is not set to autoplay, if it does for some sick and twisted reason decide to autoplay, please inform me so that I may go drive down to San Francisco where this server is located in a VPS container in a datacenter, pull it offline, and fill it with beans)

The first 15 seconds would play out clean.
The last 15 seconds would have a police whistle blown on the backbeat.
The last 10 seconds had the whistle blown on every beat.
The last 2 or 3 seconds were covered by the whistle blowing constantly.
Then he’d yell something again and seconds later the pattern began over again.

This…. went on for hours. Pretty much the only time this pattern ever changed was the one week that I knew myself and the three neighbors in between were all getting very tired of this, and I just happened to have a single weird damaged PA speaker that came from the university’s surplus warehouse and had a strangely narrow dispersion angle. I put it up on the edge of the roof and blasted tracks from The Conet Project in their general direction. This caused the Dragostea Din Tei loop to end and be replaced with the guy shouting occasionally instead…. until my amplifier overheated and shut down. The brief shouting and Dragostea Din Tei resumed IMMEDIATELY.

 

This continued up through when the neighbors who lived directly behind us moved out and someone else bought the house and turned it into an entirely unauthorized and horrible banquet hall. That was….. a whole new form of fresh hell, but at least it did not leave me with a baffling, bizarre mystery that will haunt me until the end of days.

funny, I usually see Aqua Net recommended for adhesion on a glass bed, but I guess Rave works fine when you’re printing a dickbutt

Sonicwall, schmonicwall

How to forward ports on a SonicWall:

Okay, it’s easy, just start steeping some hemlock into the blood of a virgin in a quartz flask upon an altar of old single sided floppies and get to work—-

you will not know this horror unless you experience it for yourself and i recommend you not.

sonicwall was clearly developed by someone who had a raging databases-where-databases-are-not-due fetish.

you do not just specify addresses. you do not just specify ports.

No.

You create address objects.
You create service objects to define ports.

Then you define NAT rules.

HOWEVER…. if you manually enter or edit anything about a NAT rule, for arcane and horrible reasons that have apparently never been addressed in over a decade worth of firmware versions, they break. The only reliable way to create these rules is to go into Quick Configuration and use the Public Server Wizard. There, you can create your objects (or select them if they’re existing already) and bake them into a NAT rule.

Then maybe 40% of the time it works and the rest of the time you’re frantically SSH’ing into a remote shell somewhere else and crying into your coffee over the output of nmap.

FUCK SONICWALL.

thanks i hate it

hi there, i need a combiner care package from Microwave Filter Company, thanks

Sadly, we DO actually need antennas pointed three different directions, but that’d let me eliminate one of the dishes (not seen in the picture here) that’s mounted all janky and was able to be spun around by the wind.

Joe Jobbed…!

Well not exactly but

At the stroke of the new year, the 20 or so robocalls I was getting each day starting at 8 AM Eastern stopped. Blissful silence! I could leave my phone set to ring again!

Oh wait. This morning some text spam started going out as group texts with a huge number of recipients. Fellow victims all started clicking reply aaaaand I turned my phone off for a couple hours so it’d stop vibrating constantly and getting hot

It looks like I got about five of the messages, but each has a thread of dozens of replies!

Can I have an AMPS StarTac please?

What in the electromagnetically radiant fuck

“completed” installation by a local WiSP

Let’s get that mystery battery charger board (?) off the metal framed switch

What’s on the other end of that zip cord?

Hurk

SUPER JACKPOT!!! 10,000,000 FAIL BONUS. EXTRA BALL IS LIT

That poor tripp-lite

Yeah that’s just some outdoor CPE setup (?) lying on top

Custom… Power… Thing?

I agree with this cat

MicroREKT

I always used to wonder why every time I worked in a radio site I’d find the transmission lines going through the entry panel just goobered in there with silicone sealant or spray foam and the unused pieces of the Microflect / Andrew / CommScope / insert today’s name of the conglomerate cable entry port system lying around unused

Now I understand why and my arms and hands and back and legs all hurt, hours later

Woop Woop the FUCK POINT has been reached, this is as good as I can get this one. You just can’t get these things together if the cable doesn’t wanna go through straight.

Smoked out…

As I drove into Redding this morning I saw this wall of muck…. visibility dropped to just a couple hundred feet.

The map on purpleair.com confirms my suspicions that I should probably just top up the generator fuel tank and go home early today. This is well beyond “unhealthy”, it’s probably all the way up into “unsuitable to support life, GO AWAY”.

This is the result of the Delta Fire burning north of Shasta Lake. It’s currently 24,558 acres in size and has reached over east to meet the area affected by the Hirz Fire.

 

Interestingly there seems to be exactly *one* PurpleAir sensor in use in Southeast Florida. I thought about getting one at home, but someone right across the street already has one. Maybe adding them at our transmitter sites would be useful…?

PITAtek

Upon having the strange experience that a new supposedly frequency agile PTek would only work on half the band (seemed almost like an exciter unlock or something when I tried to dial in 107.1?) I decided to look at the exciter card to see if there’s a tunable tank coil or something

I wish I hadn’t now

SCA and composite inputs, J9 and J10 respectively. C66 lowpasses the composite sorta by shunting everything above an unknown frequency to ground. C65 highpasses the SCA, it’s in series. The two combine at fixed yet frequency dependent levels and go down that via near C63 and R33. U7 under the board is a voltage regulator. J1 is the RF out and L1 is the DC feed to the power amplifier just out of frame.

Yeah just go right ahead and stuff the audio inputs right on top of the RF out. No big deal.

Full view of the card. The DDS is at upper left.

Think you can get away from having your audio run across the butt of a voltage regulator by using the XLR jacks? No.

The trace going down the via next to R81 is one of the audio channels, and it runs right under the header connector for power and data to the board.

A word on this PA. This is a new LDMOS transistor from ST Micro. As such, its dissipation is really low, and it basically gets heatsinked by the leads and traces. Here’s the reference design…

What you get is significantly less copper. The big ground planes that’d soak heat away via the source leads are just not there… so a weird block thing was sandwiched under the board and I don’t even want to look at this any more

The stereo generator used to, in earlier designs, be based off a DSP that I’d heard they couldn’t get anymore. This stereo generator is what I could best describe as “deconstructed BA1414 feeding a high speed ADC”. I’m guessing the two PICs are used for timing generation and the 8 bit ADC, U8 / DAC0800LCM is probably used to generate a sine wave from a lookup table or something. conspicuously absent is any sort of audio filter to roll off program content above 15-18 khz, if this is present the generator flips the hell out. It’s a living nightmare on green circuit board. Gaaah.

Side note– the BA1414 I mentioned above is a chip made by Rohm which is used in a lot of really cheap little FM transmitter baubles and produces TERRIBLE output. It performs stereo multiplexing using a couple of poorly filtered square wave oscillators that are mixed with audio.

A quick survey…

Looking to see what the first steps are in restoring our stations to service….

Watch that first step.


We were all kinda amazed with this smoke-spewing hole. It’s the root system of a pine tree that started burning underground. It’s likely that this will eventually cause the road to cave in a bit and require filling/excavation.

Read more “A quick survey…”

PTek. This post is not divisible by 2 for I can’t even

Brand new. Lasted about one minute on air before failing.

They used aluminum coax braid for the main output. Rest assured it gets worse. I’m posting this to watch a certain Canadian ham radio operator dump core in response. This is… a whole new tier of shitposting.

Read more “PTek. This post is not divisible by 2 for I can’t even”