Wireless Waffle - A whole spectrum of radio related rubbish
Wire-More LAN (Part IV)signal strength
Friday 27 April, 2007, 14:51 - Radio Randomness
Another train journey, another chance to run good ole Netstumbler and do a survey of channel occupancy for 2.4 GHz (that's 802.11b, g and n and not 802.11a in case you were wondering) to see whether my previous analysis of which are the best WiFi channels to use still holds.

For those who haven't (or can't be bothered to) read my previous article, I came to the conclusion that if you lived in an area of high WiFi penetration, channel 1 was the best channel to use as it was the least likely to suffer interference from other Wireless LAN users. In areas where there was unlikely to be any other wireless LAN activity, channel 11 (or 12, or 13) would be best, as these are the most free from other interferers (e.g. the military, microwave ovens, radio amateurs and so forth).


So what are the results of this train journey? I've plotted them above. I've shown the outbound journey separate from my return journey. As it's highly possible that if I picked up a LAN in one direction, I might have equally picked it up in the other, I've filtered the return numbers to take account of this. Also, I kind of half forgot to switch my system on on the outbound journey so, as you can see, the results for the return journey show many more LAN's than the outbound!

The upshot remains exactly the same as before (phew!) Channel 1 continues to be the best channel to use if you are in an area saturated with other users. Remember when looking at the above graph that channels 2 to 5 interfere with channel 1 and as such are not independent - equally they interfere wich channel 6 - only channels 1, 6 and 11 (or 1, 7 and 13) are actually free from interference from each other. My arguments about channel 11, 12 or 13 being the best to use in quiet areas remain unchallenged.

As a postscript, I though you might enjoy one or two of the network SSID's (names) that I found during my journey. Here are my favourites:

ideal cleaning wireless'Bleach2006'
'GARY BARLOW' (was it really...?!)
'Ideal Cleaning Wireless'
'legal loonies'
'the wardrobe'

and my absolute favourite: 'FRAUDULENT'...! Also, a few other vaguely interesting facts and figures:

Number of networks called 'BTVOYAGER': 12
Number of networks called 'BTHomeHub': 45
Number of networks called 'SKYxxxxx' (where xxxxx is a 5 digit number): 30
Number of networks called 'Belkin54g': 10 (and 7 of them were open)
Number of networks called 'default': 5 (all of them open)
Number of networks called 'linksys': 10 (4 of them were open)
Number of networks called 'NETGEAR': 16 (10 of them were open)
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Skywave Stripteasesignal strength
Monday 18 December, 2006, 11:46 - Radio Randomness
antenna dollHere at Wireless Waffle, we have spent the last month tracking down the perfect Christmas present for the radio enthusiast. Something classy and stylish that would enhance even the lamest of radio installations and make them sparkle and gleam. Something that will make everyone look at your aerial with amazement, requiring double and triple takes in order to believe the awesomeness (yes, that is a word!) of your antenna.

And after literally minutes of research, we have discovered the 'Antenna Doll' - an authentic plastic pole dancer who is already stripped to her undies and is ready and willing to spruce up the season with her sexy moves. According to the packaging, special features include:

* Fits on Standard Car Antennas
* Heavy Duty Plastic
* Moves with Motion of Vehicle

raven antenna dollWhat's more, this must-have gift for the wireless wayfarer comes in several different variants guaranteed to make your pole stand to attention including the ravishing dark haired damsel 'Raven' and the buxom burlesque blondette bimbo 'Britni'.

britni antenna dollThe Antenna Doll isn't available at all good retailers or radio shops, it can only be bought in specialist outlets such as eBay and your local tat emporium, junk shop or adult outlet.

As well as ensuring you the best possible reception (especially in the car park of the local Womens' Institute) almost 10 pence (20 cents) of the price of every Antenna Doll that is sold goes directly towards its manufacture. So why not give the one you love something tasteful and unique to fill their stocking this Christmas and buy something else instead.
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Antenna Plural Bugbearsignal strength
Tuesday 14 November, 2006, 08:52 - Radio Randomness
Aaaaargh... Why is it that so many people insist on using the wrong plural for antenna? It's soooo annoying. There are two plurals of the word 'antenna':

Antennas - a technical term meaning more than one antenna or aerial
Antennae - a zoological term meaning more than one antenna of an insect nature

Don't confuse the two! I often see articles where people say that they have erected 'antennae' at home. Really? They've spent an afternoon mounting insect feelers on their house? Interestingly the entomological community rarely make the same mistake. It's not common for them to claim to have found a new kind of bug with aerials growing from its head!


If you don't believe me, take a look at the screen-shot above taken from answers.com which clearly defines the two different plurals and their different meetings.

To avoid all confusion, try using 'aerial' to mean a radio antenna, that way there's no confusion as the plural is quite obviously 'aerials'!
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London Airport Frequenciessignal strength
Wednesday 1 November, 2006, 16:47 - Radio Randomness
controltowerAs if this site isn't littered with enough useless information already, here's a load more. Having travelled to and from the various London airports on a number of occasions, I thought it would be nice to have an up-to-date list of the various air traffic control frequencies used at them (so that whilst en-route to the airport or waiting in the lounge I could tune-in to see exactly how delayed my flight is). Using the all-knowing Google proved rather confusing as lots and lots of differing lists appeared, so I decided to compile the lists together and then take a listen to see which channels were clearly active and which were now obsolete.

The results are posted below and only those frequencies heard to be active during random monitoring sessions in October 2006 are listed. The frequencies shown in italics were listed on a number of sites (sufficient to believe that they are for real) but monitoring showed that there was no activity, so they're listed just in case! All frequencies are in MHz.

pilotgirlLondon Heathrow Airport
Approach 119.725 134.975
Radar 120.400
Tower 118.500 (Departures) 118.700 (Arrivals)
Ground 121.900 121.700
Clearance 121.975
ATIS 121.850 (Departures) 128.075 (Arrivals)

London Gatwick Airport
Approach 126.825
Director 118.950
Tower 124.225
Ground 121.800
Clearance 121.950
ATIS 136.525

London City Airport
Tower 118.075
ATIS 136.350

London Volmet
Main 135.375
North 126.600
South 128.600

Other London Airports/Frequencies
Battersea Heliport 122.900
Thames Radar 132.700 (also used as Approach for London City Airport)
London VFR 125.625 (Visual Flight Rules)
London FIS 124.600 124.750 (Flight Information Service)

So there you have it. Together with a cheap airband scanner, you now have the knowledge required to depress yourself by listening in to flight controllers and discovering exactly how late your flight really is!
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