Digital antenna installation

I'm planning to put up an antenna for digital TV reception this weekend. Being in St Peters, I should be right in the Kings Cross transmitter's footprint. I sure as hell hope so because I'm going to buy a UHF-only antenna.

Now the interesting thing will be working out where to point the thing, and diagnosing that as I move the antenna around. I only have a little USB-stick style DVB receiver for my laptop. So far I've not been overwhelmed by the software-displayed signal strength meter in that. Will be difficult with me up the ladder and Holly down the bottom with the laptop.

I guess I could get an installer in, but since we're only renting I'm loathe to spend big money on the antenna. Yes, the landlord should supply an antenna. He hasn't, though he's put up the mast for me and will let me clip the cable down and drill holes in the floor for the cable.

Any tips?


In response to yesterday's post about acoustic noise measurements, Matt Palmer, Rog and Michael Greb have pointed out that a "bel" is the base unit of "decibel", with a decibel being a tenth of a bel. That much should have been obvious to me, but wasn't.

Michael reckons 37dB isn't loud at all, which means that computer should be a good purchase. Excellent news!

Thanks for the responses guys.

Acoustic noise levels

The reason I sold off the server I'd bought on eBay is because of the noise it generated. I already live right under the flight path to Sydney airport, so I don't need my own jet engine noise inside as well. So I'm looking around for a similarly specced machine, in workstation configuration rather than server.

IBM have lots of documentation about their products, and I've found a workstation model I like that's on eBay at a keen price. But I can't understand the noise specifcations they use, and Wikipedia hasn't been all that helpful.

What's specified is this:

Acoustical noise emission: 
Declared (upper limit) sound power levels:
 5.2 bels idle
 5.3 bels operating

Average sound pressure levels:
At bystander position (1 meter):
 37 dBA idle
 39 dBA operating

So what does that mean? Is "bels" another word for decibels? And as it's a ratio, I'm unclear how to read it. Some resources I've found put 30 dB as the sound of a quiet theatre, and 60 dB as a normal household television when switched on. So is 39 noisy or pretty reasonable? Let me know and I'll post the results for posterity.

I'm finding blogging like this quite helpful. I guess the audience is pretty big, what with it being on the SLUG, Linux Australia, GLLUG and Linode planets. Certainly getting lots of helpful responses to questions I pose. All without a commenting system!

Server gone

Okay the server I I advertised yesterday has sold to a mate of my brother-in-law. Looks like it'll be doing service as a (very capable) file server. Now looking for similar-spec hardware that doesn't sound like a jet engine and will happily take TV tuner cards...

For sale: NEC Express dual-Xeon server with 288GB RAID

Hi folks. I bought this server on eBay a couple of months ago and have decided it doesn't fit my purpose. It's an amazing piece of hardware, but it's as noisy as a jet engine and is a bit finnicky about the PCI devices you plug into it. As I want it to be a MythTV server, that's a bit of a showstopper.

It's a great piece of kit: dual 1.4 gig PIII Xeons, 2 gigs of registered RAM, 288GB of RAIDed SCSI drives (AcceleRAID 352 uses DAC960 module), dual NICs, dual redundant PSU. All the high-end server stuff you'd expect. It would make an amazing application or file server, provided you don't want to plug any extra PCI devices in.

I paid $340 for it and would be happy to see it go to someone reading this blog for that, losing the freight I can chalk up to experience. Provided you pick it up from St Peters, Sydney and pay cash. Other arrangements can be made by contacting me.

I'll give it until the end of the week before putting it up on eBay again, so get in touch if you're interested. I can get you more detailed specs and photos if that helps, and this is a starting point..

Drought? What drought?

Australia is apparently experiencing the worst drought in living memory. You could've fooled me! Since moving back to Sydney from London it's rained more than it ever did in London, and that's the city with the reputation for rain. What's more, the rain here actually gets you soaked, unlike the light drizzle in London.

New Year was good. Part at Maz and Matt's place, which was loads of fun and everyone made an effort to dress up. Some photos up on Justine's site.

Happy season folks

Well it's Xmas here in Sydney and it's pretty warm and humid, raining but it's supposed to clear in the morning for the big day. Xmas is more hectic, as expected, being in the same country as the family. Yesterday we went down to see Holly's Dad in Wollongong. Tomorrow we're opening presents with my niece in the morning, then dinner up on the Central Coast with the family in the evening.

Still, it's a nice change to be warm. Ben has a swimming pool so we can go swimming. Then up the Coast we can go surfing every day. Woo!

I'm back at work on the 2nd January.

Have a fun and safe break everyone. Be especially careful on the roads. Every dickhead going seems to be out there, and a good proportion of them are probably drunk as a skunk.