The personal website of Scott W Harden

W4DFU Gator Seen in Canada

I don't have long, but the picture speaks for itself. Sent from Florida to Canada. I used VE1VDM's "Big Ears Grabber" in Canada.

QRSS VD version 1.04 Released

I'm proud to announce the first public version of QRSS VD has been released!

Edit: QRSS VD is now on GitHub: https://github.com/swharden/QRSS-VD

How to Destroy a Radio Operator

After priding myself on my ingenuity a few weeks ago for documenting my homemade stealth indoor apartment antenna for 40m and 20m, it seems that the green movement has contrived a plan to cripple my successes. So far I've made a few dozen contacts in Morse code with my humble little setup (~20 watts of power, direct conversion receiver, indoor homemade antenna). The photo shows some QSL cards I've gotten. Anyhow, my apartment manager decided that my apartment needed to have solar panels added to it. It's too early to tell for sure, but spinning the dial a few times and hearing *nothing* makes me think that it dramatically impacted my reception (and likely transmission) in a dramatic way.

There are the QSL cards I got so far:

I think the AJ4VD station has been effectively shut down!

⚠️ Warning: This article is obsolete.
Articles typically receive this designation when the technology they describe is no longer relevant, code provided is later deemed to be of poor quality, or the topics discussed are better presented in future articles. Articles like this are retained for the sake of preservation, but their content should be critically assessed.

Overseas QRP Transmission

While working on the spectrograph software I'm trying to complete this spring break, I happened to capture a cool signal from Italy. IW4DXW was sending some cool signals that I captured around 10.140 MHz. See how his call sign is written "visually" on the spectrogram? I thought I'd post it because it's an encouraging sign that my software is going in the right direction. Also note the numerous QRSS FSK signals around it! So cool.

I sent an email to the operator and he responded with station information:

Hi Scott! Thank you so much for nice report. This is a short description of my homebrew beacon. The audio source is a normal MP3/WAV player. The file (.WAV) of my hell message (8x8 char) is generated using Chirphel (program by DF6NM) with a fmax~=800Hz and BW=5Hz, and processed with Csound to obtain the phase relation R = L + 90° between channels (hilbert function). A 10.140MHz oven xtal oscillator (adjusted for +880Hz) is a PLL reference used to obtain a x4 frequency. This clock with the 2 audio channels are applied to a “Softrock style” SSB phasing modulator (double H-mixer with 74HC4053 ic).

The LSB output signal (10.140,080MHz @ ~ -3dBm) is amplified by a 2N2222 (driver stage) and a 2SC2314 (linear PA stage ~1W P.E.P. max, but 100 – 200 mW of average power). I’m using a 30m dipole (inverted vee @ about 50 feet). 30 meters looks good today! My signal heard in VK2 too…

Greetings from north Italy, dear Scott!

73
Riccardo, IW4DXW

200mW? That's awesome! Maybe one day I'll build something cool like that! I will now return to the programming project that has been eating-up my spring break.

Here's a screenshot of what I'm doing now I'll keep for the future memory of this break. Yes, I'm on a Windows machine. I'm at the W4DFU radio club station (they have nicer computers than I do!)

⚠️ Warning: This article is obsolete.
Articles typically receive this designation when the technology they describe is no longer relevant, code provided is later deemed to be of poor quality, or the topics discussed are better presented in future articles. Articles like this are retained for the sake of preservation, but their content should be critically assessed.

Dynamic Logo Generation with Python

I'm working on a software project and I'd love the startup screen to be unique. I want the splash image to be generated programmatically. I have to generate it from the script, but how can I reliably print text on an image with fonts vary across operating systems? Keep in mind many OS's don't have "arial.ttf", or no truetype fonts at all!

First, I created a 2D binary array to represent the alphabet using pixel fonts such as this as a reference. The word I'm trying to create is "QRSS VD" (the name of my program). I store the data in strings, as seen below. I use 1's to mark pixels, and spaces to mark empty spaces.

data="""
1111 1111 1111 1111   1  1 111
1  1 1  1 1    1      1  1 1  1
1  1 1111 1111 1111   1  1 1  1
1 11 1 1     1    1   1 1  1  1
1111 1 11 1111 1111    1   111
"""

Once I think it looks nice, I replace the spaces with zeros to make it take up a lot of visual space...

data2="""
1111011110111101111000100101110
1001010010100001000000100101001
1001011110111101111000100101001
1011010100000100001000101001001
1111010110111101111000010001110
"""

Then I further obscure it by replacing linebreaks with a different symbol, such as the number 2, then break the lines so they're not lined up...

b="1111011110111101111000100101110210010100101000010000001001010012"
b+="1001011110111101111000100101001210110101000001000010001010010012"
b+="1111010110111101111000010001110"

The result is a pretty cool way to obscure the text. I don't know why you'd want to, but if you want to make sure that no one goes in and changes the letters around (at least without making them think pretty hard about it) you could look at ways to further encrypt this data stream. From here, I create an image using the Python Imaging Library, setting pixel values to 255*b[x,y] (so 0 stays 0 and 1 becomes 255, perfect for an 8-bit image). After enlarging, here's the result:

Now let's make it a little bit less pixelated. It's not a cure-all method, but blurring it up a little with a bilinear filter helps a lot...

Then I apply the code below which applies a cool colormap to the pixel values. I'll provide cleaner code for this later (I have a really cool way of generating colormaps and saving them as arrays of RGB tuples). Then I go through and plot some random sin wavs on top of it. Sweet! Here are 6 images generated from the program run 6 times. Notice the randomness of the sine wavs!

A different image is generated every time the script runs, and it requires no external files (bitmaps or fonts) and should work well on all operating systems.

from PIL import Image
from PIL import ImageOps
from PIL import ImageFilter
from random import randint
import scipy


def genLogo():
    colormap = [(0, 0, 129), (0, 0, 134), (0, 0, 139), (0, 0, 143), (0, 0, 148), (0, 0, 152), (0, 0, 157), (0, 0, 161), (0, 0, 166), (0, 0, 170), (0, 0, 175), (0, 0, 180), (0, 0, 184), (0, 0, 189), (0, 0, 193), (0, 0, 198), (0, 0, 202), (0, 0, 207), (0, 0, 211), (0, 0, 216), (0, 0, 220), (0, 0, 225), (0, 0, 230), (0, 0, 234), (0, 0, 239), (0, 0, 243), (0, 0, 248), (0, 0, 252), (0, 0, 255), (0, 0, 255), (0, 0, 255), (0, 0, 255), (0, 2, 255), (0, 7, 255), (0, 11, 255), (0, 14, 255), (0, 18, 255), (0, 23, 255), (0, 27, 255), (0, 31, 255), (0, 34, 255), (0, 39, 255), (0, 43, 255), (0, 47, 255), (0, 51, 255), (0, 54, 255), (0, 59, 255), (0, 63, 255), (0, 67, 255), (0, 71, 255), (0, 75, 255), (0, 79, 255), (0, 83, 255), (0, 87, 255), (0, 91, 255), (0, 95, 255), (0, 99, 255), (0, 103, 255), (0, 107, 255), (0, 111, 255), (0, 115, 255), (0, 119, 255), (0, 123, 255), (0, 127, 255), (0, 131, 255), (0, 135, 255), (0, 139, 255), (0, 143, 255), (0, 147, 255), (0, 151, 255), (0, 155, 255), (0, 159, 255), (0, 163, 255), (0, 167, 255), (0, 171, 255), (0, 175, 255), (0, 179, 255), (0, 183, 255), (0, 187, 255), (0, 191, 255), (0, 195, 255), (0, 199, 255), (0, 203, 255), (0, 207, 255), (0, 211, 255), (0, 215, 255), (0, 219, 254), (0, 223, 251), (0, 227, 248), (2, 231, 245), (5, 235, 241), (7, 239, 238), (11, 243, 235), (14, 247, 232), (18, 251, 228), (21, 255, 225), (23, 255, 222), (27, 255, 219), (31, 255, 215), (34, 255, 212), (37, 255, 208), (40, 255, 205), (44, 255, 203), (47, 255, 199), (50, 255, 195), (54, 255, 192), (57, 255, 189), (60, 255, 186), (63, 255, 183), (66, 255, 179), (70, 255, 176), (73, 255, 173), (76, 255, 170), (79, 255, 166), (83, 255, 163), (86, 255, 160), (89, 255, 157), (92, 255, 154), (95, 255, 150), (99, 255, 147), (102, 255, 144), (105, 255, 141), (108, 255, 137), (112, 255, 134), (115, 255, 131), (118, 255, 128), (121, 255, 125), (124, 255, 121),
                (128, 255, 118), (131, 255, 115), (134, 255, 112), (137, 255, 108), (141, 255, 105), (144, 255, 102), (147, 255, 99), (150, 255, 95), (154, 255, 92), (157, 255, 89), (160, 255, 86), (163, 255, 83), (166, 255, 79), (170, 255, 76), (173, 255, 73), (176, 255, 70), (179, 255, 66), (183, 255, 63), (186, 255, 60), (189, 255, 57), (192, 255, 54), (195, 255, 50), (199, 255, 47), (202, 255, 44), (205, 255, 41), (208, 255, 37), (212, 255, 34), (215, 255, 31), (218, 255, 28), (221, 255, 24), (224, 255, 21), (228, 255, 18), (231, 255, 15), (234, 255, 12), (238, 255, 8), (241, 252, 5), (244, 248, 2), (247, 244, 0), (250, 240, 0), (254, 236, 0), (255, 233, 0), (255, 229, 0), (255, 226, 0), (255, 221, 0), (255, 218, 0), (255, 215, 0), (255, 211, 0), (255, 207, 0), (255, 203, 0), (255, 199, 0), (255, 196, 0), (255, 192, 0), (255, 188, 0), (255, 184, 0), (255, 180, 0), (255, 177, 0), (255, 173, 0), (255, 169, 0), (255, 165, 0), (255, 162, 0), (255, 159, 0), (255, 155, 0), (255, 151, 0), (255, 147, 0), (255, 143, 0), (255, 140, 0), (255, 136, 0), (255, 132, 0), (255, 128, 0), (255, 125, 0), (255, 121, 0), (255, 117, 0), (255, 114, 0), (255, 110, 0), (255, 106, 0), (255, 102, 0), (255, 99, 0), (255, 95, 0), (255, 91, 0), (255, 88, 0), (255, 84, 0), (255, 80, 0), (255, 76, 0), (255, 73, 0), (255, 69, 0), (255, 65, 0), (255, 62, 0), (255, 58, 0), (255, 54, 0), (255, 51, 0), (255, 47, 0), (255, 43, 0), (255, 39, 0), (255, 36, 0), (255, 32, 0), (255, 28, 0), (255, 25, 0), (255, 21, 0), (253, 17, 0), (248, 14, 0), (244, 10, 0), (240, 6, 0), (235, 2, 0), (230, 0, 0), (225, 0, 0), (221, 0, 0), (217, 0, 0), (212, 0, 0), (207, 0, 0), (203, 0, 0), (198, 0, 0), (194, 0, 0), (189, 0, 0), (185, 0, 0), (180, 0, 0), (175, 0, 0), (171, 0, 0), (166, 0, 0), (162, 0, 0), (157, 0, 0), (152, 0, 0), (148, 0, 0), (144, 0, 0), (139, 0, 0), (134, 0, 0), (130, 0, 0), (134, 0, 0), (130, 0, 0)]

    def red(val):
        return colormap[val][0]

    def green(val):
        return colormap[val][1]

    def blue(val):
        return colormap[val][2]

    def colorize(im):
        r = Image.eval(im, red)
        g = Image.eval(im, green)
        b = Image.eval(im, blue)
        im = Image.merge("RGB", (r, g, b))
        return im
    b = "1111011110111101111000100101110210010100101000010000001001010012"
    b += "1001011110111101111000100101001210110101000001000010001010010012"
    b += "1111010110111101111000010001110"
    b = b.split("2")
    im = Image.new("L", (33+15, 7+13))
    data = im.load()
    for y in range(len(b)):
        for x in range(len(b[y])):
            data[x+6, y+6] = int(b[y][x])*255
    scale = 15
    im = im.resize((im.size[0]*scale, im.size[1]*scale))
    data = im.load()

    def drawSin(width, height, vertoffset, horizoffset, thickness, darkness):
        for x in range(im.size[0]):
            y = scipy.sin((x-horizoffset)/float(width))*height+vertoffset
            for i in range(thickness):
                if 0 <= y+i < im.size[1] and 0 <= x < im.size[0]:
                    # print x,im.size[0],y+i,im.size[1]
                    data[x, y+i] = data[x, y+i]+darkness

    for i in range(5):
        print "line", i
        drawSin(randint(5, 75), randint(-100, 200), randint(0, im.size[1]),
                randint(0, im.size[0]), randint(3, 15), 70)
    for i in range(10):
        im = im.filter(ImageFilter.SMOOTH_MORE)
    im = colorize(im)
    return im


im = genLogo()
im.save('logo.png', "PNG")
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