Ironsides Blog

My blog is very eclectic and blog articles include angling, what's been on the television and basically anything else that comes to mind

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Penn

Penn

I live on the south-west coast of England in a small town called Brixham.  I been confined to a wheelchair 1986 after breaking my neck in a swimming pool accident.  Computers are my saviour and I spend most days doing one thing or another on my PC.  Other interests I have include angling and amateur radio.  I also run a website and forum dedicated to looking after and caring for the Oscar fish cichlid

OB 11-5 beam antenna for sale

20/17/15/12/10

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If I was limited to giving just one important piece of advice to somebody who is new to spinal cord injury then it would always be to "look after your kidneys". You may well argue that looking after your skin is the most important part of being in a wheelchair. However, a pressure sore albeit a horrible experience is not a life-threatening condition, unless of course, you get a serious infection. However, you need your kidneys in order to survive so keeping them healthy is so very important, especially if you are disabled and use a wheelchair.

After I left the hospital in 1987 the annual hospital checkups that I should have been attending gradually declined over the years until I fell off the hospital's radar and didn't even receive any reminders. It was a serious bout of sepsis in 2008 that basically kickstarted me into taking my health more seriously. I can't remember anyone pinpointing exactly what brought on the sepsis but with the benefit of hindsight, I'm almost 100% certain it was my right kidney which I believe been infected for quite a long time.

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If you are in Torbay and are looking for an engineer/company to come out and install a new TV antenna or satellite system for you then take my advice be careful if you are choosing somebody from online. If you type in the phrase "TV antenna installation Torbay" there will be several paid adverts right at the top of Google. I can tell you now that these are large companies that are actually not based in Torbay at all, they have agents all over the country. However, they have cleverly optimised their website to make it look as though they are a local company. I've used one of these such companies before and they are absolutely terrible. They may well install what you want but it will come at a cost, a very high cost.

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Posted by on in Angling

Fish do not like being removed from the water and carp are no exception. They probably don't really know what's going on and want to get away from what they probably perceive as an enemy. This is probably why fish flap and completely freak out wind out of the water. Even experienced anglers may have difficulties in controlling a large flapping carp. Inexperienced anglers can often become flustered and panic when fish start flapping. What you want to avoid is a fish flapping itself out of the net onto the bank where it could injure itself.

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Posted by on in Angling

Luncheon meat, spam, baking grill, hot dogs are a great bait for carp. However, lots of people now use it and the carp must get used to it. So recently I decided to flavour some pork luncheon meat to see if it made any difference. All I did was to buy a bottle of sunflower oil and a couple of garlic from Sainsbury's. I then crushed three or four cloves of garlic and dropped them into the sunflower oil. I left the bottle in the cupboard for a few days until I could really smell the garlic. On the day I was going fishing I chopped the meat up into small cubes and poured some of the oil over the top and gave it a good shake in my bait box. I have a special meat cutter which will cut a whole tin of meat into exactly the same size cubes. However, I decided to chop the meat up with a knife this time as I think using different sized pieces of meat is less likely to make the carp suspicious.

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Tagged in: Best carp baits
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Posted by on in Angling

I went for an afternoon/evening session at Town Parks fishery in Paignton today and had a fabulous day. I had 14 carp on pork luncheon meat that had been soaked in garlic oil. In fact, I actually ran out of meat in the end and hadn't planned on using anything else. However, I bought some Gulp artificial salmon eggs the other day and had taken them with me so I thought I would give them a go. 

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Tagged in: Best carp baits
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I would be the first person to rave about ICOM radios as I've been using them ever since I first got my ham license back in 1995. The radios are so sophisticated nowadays that you can connect them to a computer and use software to operate most, if not all of the controls on the radio. For somebody like myself who has no hand or finger movement being able to use a computer to do things like adjusting the volume, RF power, squelch has made my life so much easier. I no longer need to worry about putting extensions onto the knobs on the radio in order for me to use my HF equipment. Some of the other radio manufacturers such as Yaesu and Kenwood have developed their own rig control software. However, for some reason, ICOM has not developed any software whatsoever. Therefore, I have to rely on using Ham Radio Deluxe to operate my ICOM 7800.

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This software defined radio (SDR) station is based in Wheathampstead in south-east England (IO91UT) and covers 160, 80, 40 and 20 m. If you live in the UK then this is a really good SDR station to use if you want to test your audio. Basically, just tune into a frequency on your computer and match it on your radio, I normally use 40 m because bank conditions are normally open. if conditions are running between the two stations will be up to hear yourself clearly coming out of your computer speaker.

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This is another good SDR (software defined radio) based in Spain that will allow you to monitor your transmissions when the history is running in the right direction

http://eladio.con-ip.com:8073/

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I've been using a website called websdr.org for a few years now in order to monitor myself on software defined radios around the world. Basically, when the conditions are right you can tune into a frequency on one of these radios which is based abroad and if you're lucky you can actually hear yourself talk. I often use it to monitor my modulation and make sure that I sound good.

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This morning I feel like a father who has arrived home to find that all his children have grown up and left home and for some reason, he missed it all. Basically, that's exactly what happened, because of unforeseen circumstances this morning I missed the chance to see all the baby blue tits fledge. By 9:30 AM on what is exactly 3 weeks to the day they hatched they had all left the nesting box. So all I have now to look at is an empty box with a few unhatched eggs, not sure what I'm going to do with myself :-)

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The baby blue tits are now almost the same size as the adults so I'm not expecting them to stay in the nesting box for too much longer. The adult doesn't stay with them at night so I expect this is her way of trying to wean them. Both adults are still busy bringing back food every few minutes and taking away their poo. The babies are busy preening their feathers and they actually look like they are getting ready for the next stage of their life. I went fishing today and I was half expecting to find the box empty when I came back, however, they are still in there this evening. Is going to be quite sad when they do go, I've kind of got used to their racket during the day when I'm on the computer here with them behind me on the television.

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Posted by on in Nesting Box

I'm very worried about one of the little blue tits. The two blue tits that hatched before the other two seem to be the strongest and biggest. Even though all the eggs hatched on the same day it seems that just those few hours gave the first two hatchlings much better chance of growing quicker and stronger and now being able to compete much easier for food. Out of the four baby blue tits one of them seems to be having quite a struggle getting the adults to notice it and feed it. It seems to be stuck underneath all the other three who continue to plunk themselves on top of this poor helpless little waif.

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Posted by on in Nesting Box

I can't wait until I can show you live footage of baby blue tits breeding, you will be absolutely amazed as I have been over the last few weeks. I just took delivery of a brand-new HD IP camera which I plan on installing and the bird box. If everything goes to plan I will be able to live stream footage over the Internet so everybody can watch the blue tits breed.

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I'm really taken aback at how quickly these little baby blue tits are progressing. It seems that every day they are getting bigger and it's really noticeable. The babies now seem to have what looks like a full set of feathers which they are starting to prune and look after. I also noticed that one of the baby blue tits was flapping its wings today which obviously means they must be getting pretty close to fledging. Mummy blue tit is spending the whole day along with daddy blue tit bringing back food on a constant basis, seems that these babies are forever hungry.

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Without showing you pictures or video it's very difficult to describe just how quickly the new babies are growing. However, I hope to have a much better quality camera fitted next time around so you will be able to see high-definition video live on the Internet showing the blue tits throughout the whole breeding process.

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I came across this website that sells all kinds of clamps. If you are radio ham them this website should be right up your street as they sell just about every clamp and bracket you can think of.

aerialsandtv.com

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In August 2016 I decided to have my garden pond revamped. It was dug out nearly 15 years ago and hasn't really been looked after very well and gradually the garden is taking the pond back. So after doing a search on the Internet, I contacted a local Aquatics company called Richards Aquatics who had several aquatic shops plus a pond building business. Richard Muggeridge of Richards Aquatics visited me to survey my current pond in order to get an idea of what could be done and how much it would cost. He got back to me via email pretty quickly with the quote of £2600 to which I was quite happy to accept. He asked for £1300 as a down payment which I did think was quite a lot of money for a deposit but unwittingly accepted to and transferred the money into his bank account. 

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Posted by on in Nesting Box

Not really much to report to be quite honest. There are still only four babies in the nesting box +5 eggs that haven't touched yet. I'm very doubtful as to whether the eggs will hatch now. If the eggs do hatch then the babies will be three days behind the rest and I think they will find it extremely difficult to compete for food.

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Posted by on in Nesting Box

Four baby blue tits have now hatched out of the nine eggs that are in the box, five eggs are still intact.

Even though the female is still incubating the five unhatched eggs her and the male are spending quite a lot of time during the day collecting food for the young babies. They appear to be feeding them on small caterpillars. The young are still very frail and not able to sit up properly just yet.

I don't know when the remaining eggs will hatch, or even if they will hatched. However, when they do hatch the young will have quite a lot of catching up to do and hopefully will be able to compete for food with their slightly older siblings.

I was surprised to see the female removing small white sacks of faeces from the babies backside and then promptly eating them, disgusting individuals :-)

Come back for more updates

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