deja vu: rocking switzerland…

01:44: i have been sleeping for a while when i wake up: the building is shaking quite a bit — this time it takes longer to settle down again than last time…another earthquake? (and this time i didn’t even have any whiskey at all last evening)…hmmm…let’s check in the morning…

yep, another one! 4.0 on the richter scale…switzerland ain’t the rock-solid place it used to be, it seems…swiss seismoloigcal service has it captured again.

rehearsing vivaldi & handel and a bit of sat kit

up at 8:00, a cup of tea, and i’m off to pick up the car from its parking place…first stop is the DIY section of migros in brunaupark to pick up two concrete garden tiles (intended use: counterweight for the satellite dish). i make the mistake of going to the garden section: only after looking for those tiles for about 10min does it dawn on me that i won’t get them in the shop but rather at the builder supply outlet which is in the underground car park…next stop: post office to pick up the sat kit. to my surprise (i’ve extra parked the car around the corner of the post office in adliswil) the package is rather small and cannot possibly contain a satellite dish — and it doesn’t: just the sat finder kit, the LNB cable and the self-wedling tape…oh, well, at least i got the garden tiles — which by the way, and i can say this with authority, as i’ve carried them up two stories, are really heavy…

the rest of the morning i spend with doing the shopping, cleaning up my apartment, and cooking. in the afternoon it’s off to the catholic church on the other side of town to choir practise: tomorrow night we have our annual summer concert!

the plot thickens…

come home from work to find a notice in my mailbox: the postal service tried to deliver something to me…from the noted address i infer that this must be the satellite kit from conrad…hmm…the sat dish is a bit on the large side: 100cm ;-)…having to pick that up from the post is not a job suitable for doing by bike or trike…looks like i need to work out the logistics of this one…the large car from my car-sharing coop is unfortunately already booked all day on saturday, the small one, a VW lupo is available until 10:30 — that’ll have to make do…meaning an early rise on saturday…

dorothee is away on a meditation instructor’s weekend so i’m left to my own devices…

operation downlink

my fascination with satellites dates back to 1983: the grandparents of my guest family in atlanta (during my year as an exchange student in georgia) started looking at satellite receivers. back then the satellite dishes were something rather large, something you’d rather buy from an army surplus store — if possible. most of the satellites back then seem to have been non-geostationary: one of the programs i typed in (no internet, no ftp server to download the source code from back then, rather pages and pages of basic code and tables with coordinates) was a satellite tracking program that would list on stacy’s apple ][ (my guest family “sister”) which satellite were “visible” at any given time at our location…i never saw that satellite project come to live, but the idea kept its fascination over the years (coming to think of it and doing my math: it’s more than 20 years ago…good grief)…so, the idea that popped up sometime this spring was: shouldn’t it be possible to get bbc tv via satellite?

a bit of research (well, a bit of googling) later: the beeb is transmitting its programmes free-to-air since july of last year via astra 2d…hmmm…some further research, erm, googling finds a good overview page according to which it seems like a definite possibility…now, what do we need? a dish, preferably a bit on the large side, a sat receiver, some cable, and a satellite stand…

i’ve to admit to the fact that i have been thinking, scheming really, about this for a bit…so, i’ve done my research, confered with my friend steve in the UK (who has some experience with sat TV reception) and have searched on the web to find good suppliers for the necessary kit: the satellite dish i can get from conrad electronics together with good quality cable, a sat finder kit, and self-fusing isolation tape…the satellite receiver, now, that one has to be a dreambox: a linux powered satellite receiver! if a satellite receiver setup, then one of those!

so, off we go: found a dealer in switzerland (satdiscount) for the dreambox and ordered it c.o.d. (or h.a.l.i.b.u.t, for steve), the rest of the stuff is on order from conrad electronics…let the adventure begin 8=)

shaky, shaky…

wake up at 1:10: the whole building was shaking as if a wave was passing underneath…lasted a couple of seconds and then it was quiet again. very strange feeling…very disconcerting really…don’t think it was a truck driving past, that would have been a hell of a truck…during the night i occassionally wake up and imagine the room has shaken…not an experience i’m used too…interesting…

— and no: it was not a bad dream due to too much whiskey: it was a genuine earthquake of magnitude 3.8!…and the swiss seismological service has it captured in all its gory details (besides: i only had a wee dram of the w-stuff, honest).