Grid Watch UK

Sunday 24 January 2021

Snow stopped Transmission.

 This Sunday morning we have had a good dumping of snow over the Midlands area..



Around 12:00 GMT as I write this, my VHF/UHF array of antennas strapped to the side of the house are well plastered with the white stuff.  

Outside Temperature is Zero Centigrade.

Sunday 10 January 2021

Armbian Linux for Arm processors and Android TV Boxes.

It's always interesting when I write, to see what feedback or help is out there. I encourage you all to write back your thoughts in the comments below.

The recent blog about Linux Mint 20.1 created a stir on, where my scribbles are relayed over and duplicated. Paul VA3ZC got in touch, and said "Have you tried Armbian? Linux for ARM devices".

So a quick trip down to the link  Reveals a good download area for hardware which you may like to try it out on. Although the Raspberry Pi is not listed, surely it can't be long before something is ported over.

 I know recently Ubuntu Linux has been ported for the Raspberry Pi. But are there cheaper methods of playing around with Linux and using it to advantage our hobby?

Paul mentioned he uses  an old Android TV Box. I have one of these which I use coupled up to my main TV for watching Youtube on.


             This is mine I snatched out from under the TV for demo purposes. 

The advantage of the Android TV box they are cheap! A mini computer all self contained inside a little box. Normally they include a power supply, simple remote, and work straight away out of the box when you plug them into your TV, booting from their internal Android firmware. They are also very simple to get running with Linux (in most cases). Adding a keyboard and mouse, blow the Linux firmware on to an SD card, and  away you go (In theory anyway).



  As you can see from the above two photo's good connectivity is included.

If you would like a little play around with Linux they have got to be an excellent starting point, and if you don't like it or get get fed up, brick it, or just end up throwing it into the corner of the shack, you haven't lost much.

You buy them from the likes of ebay, just type in Android TVBOX. You need to check first that the processor type is supported before you buy. Here is an example at around £20 UK:

As well as the Armbian website support there are lots of videos on Youtube to a show you how to go about installing Linux.

(Depending on processor type):

Here is one I dug out, there are plenty of others, but it shows you the basics how to go about and get it running with Armbian. 

Hope that helps! 

Friday 8 January 2021

Kiwi online SDR G4DYA

The online G4DYA Kiwi SDR receiver is just 9 miles North of my QTH. Situated at Stone, Staffordshire. UK.

It has an excellent range of Amateur bands, and even goes down to LF 136KHz and 472KHz, it also has some good decoders built in to play around with for CW, PSK and even WSPR.

Ideal to test band conditions and your equipment.

Join in the fun here

Linux Mint 20.1 Ulyssa Xfce released.


Latest version of Linux Mint released 

I am hopeful there will be a version for Arm processors soon?

Wednesday 6 January 2021

VAT is the way we are going to collect it.

Already there are moans from buyers, "they have charged me VAT!"

ebay have now rolled into the mix, implementing the 1st January 21 VAT rules for UK buyers, and EU. As  I mentioned at the start of writing this thread, they will nail it at source at the time of purchase:

Where this leaves the likes of Aliexpress, Banggood and individual traders from China and the rest of the world not registered, I guess HMRC rules in Notice 143 will click into place?

Tuesday 5 January 2021

LCSC Electronics

LCSC has been in my Far East component suppliers list for sometime now.. I was short of a few obscure components so I thought I would give them a whirl.

Website was easy to use, ordering was very quick, straight forward and simple. A small handling charge was added if the order was below a certain value . So I just ordered more components to the list to overcome the charge, the ease of paying by Paypal gave the order some security.

Based in Shenzhen, China, the consignment took no longer than anything else you would order from the far East, and was provided with live tracking as you can see from the package dates and path below:


  • delivered - no signature----Inward MC
    2021/01/04 14:29:48
  • inward mc - handheld acceptance----Inward MC
    2021/01/03 10:31:49
  • outward rdc - handheld acceptance----Outward RDC
    2020/12/31 12:07:54
  • delivery to local courier
    2020/12/28 06:00:00
  • Departed from Facility
    2020/12/28 06:00:00
  • Arrived at Sort Facility
    2020/12/27 14:00:00
  • Custom clearance completed
    2020/12/27 08:52:00
  • Arrived at AIRPORT of Destination,clearance in process
    2020/12/26 13:08:00
  • Departed from AIRPORT of Origin
    2020/12/26 09:09:00
  • Arrive at international airport to abroad----QD
    2020/12/24 23:23:07
  • Departed Facility In processing center----Qingdao
    2020/12/23 16:05:51
  • Departed Facility in YT-BT-SZ ----YT-BT-SZ
    2020/12/22 01:29:08
  • Arrived at Sort Facility YT-BT-SZ ----YT-BT-SZ
    2020/12/21 22:46:40
  • Shipment information received


I will certainly be using them again in the future!

"Yes it got in with no added VAT or PO charges Hi! :-)"




Monday 4 January 2021

VAT we are confused, but even they are confused?

 Even companies exporting to the UK are now caught up in the confusing VAT debacle ..

The BBC are now picking up on the story:

Why wasn't a transition period put in place for all this, allowing a smooth change over?

Your confused, I am confused. Standby for the next exciting episode...

The UK VAT grab that was impossible to enforce?


Good news!!
No VAT at all on imports under a certain value.

Rules changed AGAIN a few days ago.

New Notice 143:

£0.01 to £135 No Customs Duty
No Import VAT

It was gonna be impossible to enforce the collection this end, because who and how the hell would you check all those packets?
So how could they check the VAT had been paid with Chinese, US and Rest of World goods ?
Did the UK suddenly have a Million new inspectors at the ports, or the Royal Mail was geared up ready and waiting to cope with collection, or to deal with appeals over mistakes ?

Explains why nothing happened on ebay on 1st January that adds VAT to the listings for auto collection at the time you paid..