MY HOBBIES

Snooker

I enjoy playing and watching snooker, of course my favourite player is the great Jimmy  White, nicknamed the Whirlwind, he is one of the world's leading snooker players. He is renowned for his style, fairplay, and just being strangely likeable. 

Pool

Again I enjoy playing and watching pool, I spend a large amount of my free time and money playing pool against friends in the student union games room. Even through I don't play 9-ball pool (British pool tables use yellow and red balls) I like watching the 9-ball world pool championship on SKY Sports, which included top snooker players like Jimmy White and Steve Davis playing against top provisional 9-ball pool players like Johnny Acher (top American player). Poor old Jimmy White lost in the last 16 and Steve Davis in the last 32 of the 1999 championships.

Amateur Radio

I started on the CB bands (1995), which I enjoyed and soon became interested in HAM radio. I have made many long range copies and have over 50 QSL cards (confirmed copies) including England, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Malta and Albania. 


MY INTERESTS

Computers 

Ever since as far as I can remember, I have been interested in computers. I've used many different computers over the years, including: BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC464, C64, Spectrum 48K, Commodore Amiga 500+, Apple Macintosh (lots of different models) and last all, the one that I mostly use now the PC. 

Using my Amstrad CPC464 (about 1990) I started to learn, how to create simple programs (BASIC 1.0). A couple of years  later I was capable of writing quite complex programs including a Word Processor, without any formal training. When I got my Commodore Amiga 500+ (about 1994) I converted a lot of my programs that was written on my Amstrad to Amiga Basic. But never really created any new programs because the main reason in writing a program is to complete a certain task and I had every I needed for the Amiga.

First year of my BTEC National Diploma in Engineering, there was a subject called computer applications, which involved using Qbasic on the PC to write programs to control devices like motors, heaters, LED, etc.. I enjoyed that subject very much and the programming I did on my old Amstrad CPC464 was invaluable. 

I can also program in C (Algorithmic Programming - BEng (Hons) Electronic Systems), a small bit of HTML, CNC machines, PLCs, PALs and machine code (Microprocessor Systems - BEng (Hons) Electronic Systems).

My interest in computers is not just software, but hardware has well. My currant PC was constructed from separate components (hard drive, mother board, etc...), It is now over 2 years old and plan to build another PC as soon as I'm able to put the money together. 

Electronics

I'm also interested in electronics, and have been for a long time. I've always been not just interested in how to use a specific piece of electrical equipment, but how does it work. I started by opening up electrical equipment and taking a good look around, and pretty soon I was able to fix faulty electrical equipment including: radio, video, regulated DC power supply, CB radio's.

Early 1995 a friend and I, put a wire (6 core) across the backs 50m long and 25 feet of the ground, this wire was going to be used for communications. We started using an hi-vi system to amplify are voices, which work quite well, but because one of the microphones had a cable length of 50m the hi-vi system also amplified short-wave radio signals. These short-wave radio signal grew in strength as darkness fell, infact radio Sweden could be heard as clear as anything most nights. 

A year or so after we both had amateur radio's, but amateur radio's are really only good for speaking to a group of local operators or long range DX and are not bi-directional (e.g. cannot speak at the same time). There is a feature built-in to most amateur radio's called PA (Public Amplifier), so instead of using an hi-vi we started using the PA amplifier, which was also bi-directional (e.g. telephone) because we had two channels made up from 3 of the 6 wires. This eliminated the radio interferences because the microphone cable was only a couple of feet long which meant that only the amplified signal was being transmitted across the 50m wire.

We now both have PCs and have a 50m length of 50 ohm coax between the houses, which is used in conjunction with an Ethernet Adapter. This local area network has a bandwidth of 10 mega bits, and using video conferencing (MS Netmeeting) a two way bi-directional communication link can easily be established. 

Have experimented with many communication methods, some worked (the three above) and others did not (Cordless intercoms). But the mean reasons why I attempted these experiments was because I enjoying building them and everything was designed by trial and error.

F1 Racing

I am a keen F1 racing fan and have been since 1994. My favourite driver was D Hill, but Hill has retried at the end of the 1999 season. I hear that BMW Williams have a new British driver, so I'll wait and see if he makes his way to the top. Of course Michael Schumacher is the best driver, but he's hasn't been in the best car for the last couple of years, maybe this year will different.

Star Trek

I am a enthusiastic Star Trek fan, I've watched every episode of all four series (Star Trek, Star Trek the Next Generation, Star Trek Deep Space 9, Star Trek Voyeur) and all of the films. 


 

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Since June 2001



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