Historic Motor Racing

Mallory park August 5th 2009.

Original Photo By: Tom Embleton.

WTF - Text Speak in 1620

This amused me slightly, it is almost like he was surprised at what happened to him back in 1620.

"WTF is going on here then?"

Original Photo by: Allan G0IAS and the location is Southwell Minster.

OSL Card for G1VMH (Tom)

Did'nt want Tom feeling left out so did the following.
No doubt he will hate it as he is on it!

Original Photo's by Tom Embleton, Trev Codner.

QSL Card for 5X1GS (Graham In Kampala)

This is an image of Grahams old home in Kampala. With a bit of text added, also brightened up the sky, modified the stock stamp with Grahams callsign etc.

PS: Love the funky VW beetle & like how big is that antenna on the Range Rover.

Original Photo by Graham Carrington.

New QSL Card for G0IAS (Allan)

Photoshop QSL Card for Allan G0IAS. Excellent picture taken by Allan of the parish church of St Giles which was built c. 1300 in Decorated style, and was partially reconstructed in 1845, so about the same time as you Al :)

Original Photo by: Allan Hickman G0IAS


My Ham Radio Station

  • Icom IC756 Pro II
  • Heil Proset Plus IC
  • Yeasu FT817 (QRP)
  • CG3000 Auto ATU
  • Antenna: 9.2m Long Wire (10 to 80m Band)
  • Yeasu AMP (Not Shown as not installed yet).
  • Mini VNA (Antenna Analyser)
  • Home Brew PSK / Digimodes interface.
  • Samsung Dual Core Laptop


Photoshop CS4 - Down and Dirty Tricks (Scott Kelby)

The book fairy turned up today and delivered a really good book that I have been hanging my nose over for a few month now after having skimmed through it in the earlier visit to Waterstones in London. If you have a look at the video wall wallpapers you will see what the output is like as this was a lesson from the book. All in all a good buy lots of usefull tips in it which hopefully I'll get around to trying out over the next week or so.

Look out for an update soon.
This photo was taken on the way into work on the 5th Frb 2009, our one real snowy day this year. As per usual it caused chaos. This was run through a filter or two in Photoshop to produce this image. The filter was Topaz adjust.

New Antenna Needed!

Been thinking about how best to install a doublet antenna in my available space and purely by chance I was talking to my neighbour this afternoon & get this "they suggested hanging it from the tree at the bottom of their garden". How very kind of them.

This will allow me to install an antenna which has it's main lobes pointing east / west, which should improve the current situation greatly. At the moment my main antenna is an inverted L fed with a CG3000 auto ATU at the base. So hopefully i'll be building and installing the antenna tomorrow. I'll let you know how it performs.

I have decided to follow the advice of Mr Cebik and go for an 88ft doublet, which equates to 44ft in my garden and 44ft over next doors and into their tree.

Bye for now.

NUFC "Toon" Wallpaper Two

And here is version 2.

NUFC "Toon" Wallpaper One

Playing about in Photoshop produced the following "Newcastle United Wallpaper" it is approximatly 4mb.

This is version one.


Brabus SLK (Wallpaper Montage)

Messing About in Photoshop, Wallpaper number one. Stock Brabus publicity image with our old virus wallpaper.


CCENT Celebration (Wednesday 5th Aug 09)

My CCNA Lab Equipment

My equipment consists of :
2 x Cisco 2960 Switches
2 x Cisco 2611 Routers (This was a mistake)

For the CCNA you need to practice setting up VLAN's and "Router on a stck" , the switches support VLAN's so no problem their, but the 2611 only has ethernet ports so no fast ethernet ports. Which is what you need for the Router on a stick configs to route between VLAN's.

What to study next?

Have been thinking about what to study next, after having completed the CCNA as I really need to keep up the momentum and have been looking long and hard at the Cisco certification site.

Ladies and Gentleman the choice is CCNA Security

The reasoning behind this is that security has always interested me, so why not do something that interests me this time, hopefully that will make the effort required to cover the subject matter so much easier. Also I have the CBT Nuggets video's for this cert which I purchased around xmas time but had to get the CCNA out of the way 1st for work.

So study resources are as follows:
  1. ExamCram 2: CCNA Security Study Guide
  2. CBT Nuggets for CCNA Security
  3. Measure up Online practice exams (Allows me to do a practice exam every day over lunch)
  4. The Probably the Cisco press official cert guide for CCNA Security, have not got this yet, will wait and see if it is necessary.

What are Freddo's?

For all the un-Training Camped among you here is what a Freddo is!

CCNA in the bag

Booked in my CCNA re-sit for Tuesday @ 10.30 (Told you I was a morning person). The nearest testing centre to me is at Newark and is based at a company who do Linux training called For Linux. Got there well early as for once very little traffic to contend with, so went in at 9.30 to register & have the photo took etc. I was asked if I wanted to take it now, so jumped in with both feet and took the exam, had the **** simulator as question eleven this time, no problem at all except when I used the command line to telnet to the router it seemed to crash and no matter what command I put in it kept showing me pages of commands every time I pressed enter.

Hmmm this might mean I bloomin fail again, So I asked the invigilator to have a look and she had no idea what to do, so I left a comment on the question along the lines of "Seriously un-impressed" and carried on with the other questions as time was ticking on and the crash had cost me 10 minutes or so of precious exam time. Also I was beginning to think about what we had been told that the simulator had a high percentage of marks attached so was really thinking, I cannot believe this, failed again. Anyway I though put some effort in and if your going to fail get a respectable score.

Pretty much flew through the rest of the questions and hit the end exam button with 5 minutes to spare and said aloud to myself "No Bloody Chance" after what seemed a very long time I had my answer!


Well what more can I say, I honestly don't think I have had such a range of emotions in a 20 minute time frame. Am I pleased YES, Am I surprised YES.


Is the CCNA a hard exam ? Yes much harder that when I took it last.
Did you put enough effort in? Not initially, but sine I have been home from firebrand I have been practicing subnetting, in fact I have a full spiral bound pad full of them.


  1. Read the flipping questions, then read them a final time before answering.
  2. Learn to subnet even if it takes a month every night, I repeat learn to subnet.
  3. Get some rack time on actual Cisco equipment, use it to do labs, and then some more labs.
  4. Be happy configuring access control lists, practice them and understand them.
  5. Do loads of quality practice questions, accept the fact that some of the practice questions will be wrong, and some you will think are wrong are actuall right, you will be really sureprised how many ways their are to write the same question.
  6. Learn your routing protocols and how to set them up, OSPF, EIGRP, RIP etc.
  7. Always read the answer to a question from the bottom up, this is so simple and really works.
That's it for now, I'll blog again if I think of anything else.

CCNA @ Firebrand Training

Work decided recently that as part of our 6 monthly performance review that some training was in order (Thanks Mark). My training track was decided as re-certify my CCNA as it had run out (only lasts 3 years) and to pass the new Cisco CCNA wireless exam.

I had been on an earlier book camp type course to do the Certified Ethical Hacker course & choose to do the course with The Training Camp @ Heythrope House. I Was most impressed with the course delivery & the thought of having to do the examination at the end of the course. With this in mind I choose to do the CCNA with Firebrand training who used to be training camp UK. I was booked in for the 3rd August course & to be honest only read through the pre-reading assignments a couple of times, so was un prepared for how much the subject matter had changed on the actual course.

Arrived at the Wyboston lakes training complex on the Sunday evening for a 6pm orientation meeting which ended up being two hours in the classroom discussing the flow of the week ahead.
Homework was set for that evening & equated to a couple of hours pre-reading. Also we where informed that we would be doing two exams one on the Wednesday afternoon (CCENT) and a further exam on the Saturday afternoon, which would hopefully see us walk away with the CCNA certification.

Training went well right through to the Wednesday evening exam, our trainer Mike Brown was excellent as well as funny with it & also most apt at maintaining the momentum so as to get through the course in the allotted time. I went in for the exam and was feeling reasonable comfortable as the CCENT was like the old version of the CCNA exam (actually was).

This is where the real difficulty began for me, there was an awful lot of new exam material that needed to be covered in a very short space of time. Once again the instructor was excellent and covered everything in sufficient depth but I realised that not everything was going in. I'd get back to my room at about 8.15 pm and easily have to do another four or five hours study just to try and make things stick. Which was pretty exhausting & required numerous trips to Tesco for Crates of Red Bull & fags! In fact my wash basin in the hotel room was full of cold water & red bull for most of the week!

My main conclusion from all of this is as follows:

  1. Don't be lazy or cocky before you attend a boot camp, do the pre-reading, in fact buy the exam cram book & read it cover to cover before you go.
  2. Learn to do subnetting & wild card masking any way you can! either learn write out the subnet tables or better still learn to subnet in your head.
  3. Firebrand are an excellent training provider but they are not miracle workers, so much effort is required you would not believe. Put some effort in before you go!
OK so back to the exam, Saturday came & I have to be honest afternoon exams don't do it for me and never have, I much prefer to do the work, get a good nights sleep before hand and then do the exam at 9 to 10am. So most of the day was a review session & then at around 2 pm we where given a few hours to study or revise as we saw fit. I have to say Mike was excellent in what he covered in the review sessions.

Went in for the exam at around 3pm and had a reasonable time in the exam, was convinced I was doing well and had plenty of time, I had the normal multiple choice questions & simlets, which where no problem as I had been on the Cisco learning network demo exams so knew what to expect. Got to question 39 out of 40 with 3 minutes left & blow me it was the simulator question. So I though Mike said if you get stuck for time do what you have time for & then leave it only if you have to. I got about half way through the simulator (final question) when the clock ticked down to 5 seconds left, so I had no choice but to end the exam and see if it was good enough?????

In less than a minute I had my answer! NOT GOOD ENOUGH, bugger failed it be what must have been one question. scored 815 pass mark was 825.

Time to go home and see Dawn and Danica, but first downstairs to see if Paul and Andy had passed? Saw Mike and thanked him for all his hard work, which despite failing the final exam was more than pleased with everything about firebrand training except one key thing, where where the Freddo bars? There are just somethings that should never be changed!