Now Access This Site Securely

Astute visitors may have noticed that when going to www.shawngarringer.com your browser now displays a “secure” icon.

Working with the fine folks over at Lets Encrypt I have now deployed SSL/TLS security on this website.

I have also worked hard to enable the highest level of security on the nginx (web server) back end hosting this site, and am happy to say that the site has an A+ rating from Qualys.  Rest assured that the data between this server and your web browser cannot be intercepted or modified in any way.

A+ Qualys Scan

In the future Google will weigh SSL/TLS enabled websites higher in search results, so the time is now to secure your sites!

Monitoring Outdoor Temperature with RTL-SDR

If you’re like me you’re interested in knowing the outdoor temperature.  If you’re also like me, the prospect of spending $$$ for a computer weather station doesn’t sound too appealing.  Once again, the wonderful $30 RTL-SDR dongle to the rescue!  In today’s blog post I will show you how you can use the RTL-SDR to intercept the wireless signals sent from your neighbors outdoor weather stations, and how to use these to know the weather around your home.

First, you will need an RTL-SDR dongle, connected to an antenna.  I am presently using my TV antenna to feed my RTL-SDR dongle, which is connected to my VMWare server and assigned to a virtual machine.

Continue reading

SDR Based Flight Tracking

I recently had the need to track the arrival of a flight into the airport near my house.  Of course, I could use any of the online services available for this, but being a HAM radio operator, I wanted to track this data myself.  I discovered that with a $30 RTL-SDR dongle, this can easily be done.

First, I built a co-linear antenna for this.  This is a simple antenna made by connecting stub pieces of coax together.  I opted for a 4 element co-linear which is not the best configuration.  I will at some time build an 8 element and place it within a PVC pipe.  This is just a proof of concept.

Using the plans here https://www.balarad.net/ I made a 4 element antenna.

IMG_20160726_154702382

Continue reading

Ultra Cheap 440 MHz HAM Radio Yagi

I’ve recently been playing with a pair of low-power 440MHz UHF data transmitters (side note these are very cool and ultra cheap 100mW UHF radios) and needed to build a pair of 440 MHz directional yagi antenna to extend the range.

IMG_20160612_152435138

I stumbled upon this write up on Radio Reference about a guy who built a yagi antenna from old clothes hangers and a broom stick.

Continue reading

First Tomato Harvest

Our first crop of tomatoes was ready!  Check out the pictures below.

The first feedback from the green shoulder tomatoes are that they taste “sweeter” and “less acidic”  We’ve only had a few of those so far, but some have gotten quite big.

20150816_071810

Most of the tomatoes that were ready are romas, and the mother in law has enough to start canning!

20150815_130312 Continue reading