First posted 1/13/2024

I have a whole bunch of tiny updates that I would have split into multiple ham radio, homelab & everything else posts in the past. But rather than bore everyone with low-quality posts, I figured one big happy high-quality gameplan of what I see 2024 looking like for would be a much better idea for all of us 🙂

Ham Radio

The chimney-top PVC structure still stands!

Although my dual-band antenna definitely isn’t as vertical as it was upon install, all 4 antennas on the chimney have survived multiple snowstorms + high wind events, and I’m pretty happy with how everything turned out:

I’ve been having a blast with great 2-meter, 1.25-meter, 70-centimeter and 10-meter contacts all winter. Only problem is the 40-meter dipole does not seem to be operational at the moment. With the Xiegu G90’s tuner, I get a low SWR but have not picked up much of anything on 40-meter since November. Plugging in my SDRPlay Duo seems to produce about the same results. I’m not 100% sure if the connector up there is screwed up or if maybe I did something stupid transmitting with the G90’s built-in tuner. Maybe I need to add a balun or something, will be asking around on local nets for advice, or comment here if you have thoughts on this matter. Either way, that can be a problem for later in 2024, and as long as the cables coming from the turtle roof vent stay dry in my attic, I’m still happy!

Less HF/FT8, more VHF/UHF/DMR

I had an absolute blast helping with SCinet’s Special Event Station N3T last year, which heavily featured the W9ANL VHF repeater system and DMR’s STEM talk group 31630. After doing so much HF & FT8 at the new QTH most of 2023, it was fun getting back into my local VHF/UHF repeater plus DMR roots. I even bought a new GD-73A just for working my home jumbospot, which has been good fun. While I still enjoy a good FT4/FT8 hunt and will still do that some weekends, I think I’m going to spend more time playing with DMR this winter. Myself and KC9POS have some big plans for doing more at W9ANL, and I’m sure you will see some great blog posts over at W9ANL once we get our act together 🙂

24/7 SDR

Now that the migration of this blog to my Orange Pi 5 is complete, I have a perfect box for running WSJT-X and gqrx 24/7 to monitor 10m FT8. I really want to do more with my SDRPlay Duo monitoring other HF bands and maybe 10m FT4 24/7 too since my intent is to transmit less on HF anyways. Once the full-blown non-preview version of SDRConnect is out, I might have some posts


More home automation stuff, less eve-ng

Doing the Python script for controlling my ecobee & dyson fan in my basement was more challenging than I originally expected, but it was also more enjoyable than I expected once things started working! There will be a few posts here talking about adding fan relays to my basement boiler so ecobees can fly, and hopefully some Python for controlling some party lights in the kiddo’s playroom. In the past, most of the homelab content here was centered around various eve-ng in GCP silliness. For 2024, I need to focus on getting all my Cisco Continuing Education done for CCNP renewal, and I should probably restart my journey to CISSP too. I might do a few more IPv6-only related homelabs, but aside from that, it might be a bit of a dry spell for the big network engineering homelabs you’re used to seeing on this blog.

Raspberry Pis Everywhere

Somehow I was lucky enough to get two Raspberry Pi 5 units in November from a Sparkfun pre-order! Sadly I’ve been distracted by other projects recently, but I hope to do something cool with the Pi 5 hardware soon, and that will absolutely be shared here. My local Microcenter had Raspberry Pi 4 hardware in stock, so I picked up a few along with Power over Ethernet hats. I need to be doing much more with for the dayjob anyways, so there might be some perfsonar homelab fun posted here too. Between perfSONAR 5 and Raspberry Pi 5, it’s going to be a good time!

Everything Else

Getting back to Burbsec

Ever since moving back to the Southwest Suburbs of Chicagoland nearly 2 years ago, I’ve been wanting to get more involved with some of the CSSIA programs and Burbsec. Now that being said, I’m not superman, there’s only so many hours in the day. Winter 2024 might not be the right timing. Eventually I’d love to attend Burbsec South at least once a month. So I’m writing that here and maybe it’ll happen!

Less time lurking, more time participating

I’m usually pretty good about using Twitter & Facebook sparingly, but I feel like my usage of those apps went up significantly after isolating at home with COVID. So every time I want to lurk around Twitter & Facebook (sometimes Reddit too), I want to instead be engaging with the various communities I belong to on Discord & Slack (sometimes too). Sure, Discord & Slack channels have their own “attention slot machine” problems, but there’s a lot of really cool groups doing really cool things where I’d like to blab more. That feels like a far better use of my time when I need a smartphone fix. I’ll report back sometime in the next 365 days to let you know how it went 🙂

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2024 Gameplan

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