Project Larry

A slight back injury at work has pretty much made me immobile for the last few days – typically for the whole of my days off. It’s only now, on my last day off, that it’s starting to clear

Anyway, what this has meant is that I have not been able to do anything that I wanted to do, mostly physical work around the house. Instead I’ve had to just sit around listening to the radios and doing the odd menial task. Listening to the radios has been interesting though – I’m just waiting on some tanking to take place over the Atlantic with some B1s; but aircraft aside I’ve also spent some time listening in on some Shortwave Radio Stations

So, I’ve picked up quite a few so far – Radio Bulgaria, Radio Taiwan, RAE Argentina, Voice of Nigeria, All India radio, Voice of Russia and China Radio International to name a few. Some “interesting” shows I must say with Radio Bulgaria’s ” Bulgarian Eurovision entries” being the funniest.

The other thing I’ve been listening out for is Shuttle Discovery. Didn’t get anything until its last day in orbit. It came through clear as anything on its second to last ever orbit of Earth. The foibles of the UBC800XLT came through though as it didn’t record properly as it had reset itself. Very frustrating indeed as the comms were so clear and lasted a good 3 or 4 minutes as the crew ran through a checklist. I watched the whole thing online until the crew stepped off the orbiter. Very sad to think that’s its last trip.It’s Endeavour next on April 19th

The real annoyance of my back issue though has not being able to start on “Project Larry”. Larry arrived with me on Tuesday, he is an ex Royal Signals Land Rover 110; and I’m going to turn him into a sort of mobile Comms post and a Camper van

Arriving on the back of the flatbed

Being an ex Signals 110 it is pretty well kitted out in the back already. It’s totally hardwired up, with a caravan style connection to a mains fuse box that then goes on to power 7 three pin sockets. Ideal for Radios, laptop, monitor etc.There’s also 2 side panels, head height, just behind the doors that contain fitted antenna connections. There’s also plenty of room for storage, I’ll probably get a powered cool box in there too.

First task though is to get some of the wiring sorted. There’s a standard radio antenna that needs rerouting to the dashboard. when I say dashboard, there actually isn’t one, just a central knob that switches the lights on and off. I need to update the standard fusebox for the vehicle, one with a few more slots; and then I need to get a new dashboard fitted.

Basic cab

Once an auxiliary battery is fitted and connected to the auxiliary fusebox down the back I can set about getting it soundproofed and insulated a bit. There will also be some new seats added.

I’ll also work on the “Roll in, roll out” sleeping layer. The Landie is already fitted with some mounts for various Comms pallets so I will be utilising these for the sleeping layer. I have the plans in my head, I just need to make sure they’ll work first.

Basically the idea is to have a bed unit (probably just a good thick bit of hardboard) that I can store in the garage and install it in when I want to go camping.
That will probably be it for the initial fittings. I’ll probably look into some more storage and shelves maybe. Hopefully it will at least be fully usable by T in the Park 2012
Antenna connections, one on each side
Close up of the connections
Left interior with the Antenna connections
Right interior
Looking back from drivers seat

I will of course put up progress pictures on here

Just a quick update….


A short trip to Iceland was taken last weekend to celebrate(??) Adrian’s forth coming wedding. Seeing as what happens on tour stays on tour I can’t even really comment on this either. Although I’m sure Adrian won’t mind me publishing this lovely picture of him as Pamela Anderson taken at The Blue Lagoon. We all felt incredibly safe knowing we had an on the call life guard available should our beer run out

I finally ordered a UBC800XLT and I am now happy with it. When I say now I mean I wasn’t when it first arrived and it nearly found its way back to Nevada Radio, but a bit of perseverance paid off and I am pretty well up to speed with how to operate it. It’s not easy that’s for sure. I also built a Yagi antenna with bits of old wiring, a choc block and some co-ax that I had lying around. This is currently connected to the 800 and it’s working a treat, especially in the UHF bands when I’m scanning. I almost feel sorry for the Icom as its not been played with as much recently, but that’s mainly because there’s not much been happening out there. That is until the last week or so.

With all the trouble in North Africa I decided to listen in on Libya and have been receiving a few things on HF 11300. It’s not always clear but there’s been a few things moving around.

And finally, after a few months delay, Space Shuttle Discovery launched on the 24th Feb. I watched the event live on the Internet and 15 minutes later was able to catch a quick 15 to 20 seconds of the crew contacting Houston on both the Icom and the 800. I had set up the freqs in both just in case my homebuilt antenna wasn’t up to much but it picked them up nice and clearly.

I’ve got to say I’m quite chuffed to, first of all, hear them in the first place; but secondly to pick them up on my homebuilt antenna. Later in the week I was able to pick up ISS on a few passes, although this is generally in Russian; and on a very clear night I was also able to see the ISS with Discovery attached to it pass over head. It really is hard to believe that the Space Shuttle is nearing the end of its service, I’m glad I managed to see a couple of them and I’m glad I was able to pick this one up. there’s another launch due soon hopefully, but that’s 1 of 2 that’s left

Lastly for this blog is that I have a new project arriving next week. I won’t say anything yet, but once it’s arrived I’ll get some pictures and my plans on here