Fed up!

DAB radio

DAB+ radio coverage Perth metro. See me? I’m firmly in the red “poor signal” area. Damn!

Is there no end to my radio/TV reception and internet troubles??! At the Trigg house, only 12Km from the city, I was plagued with digital TV dropouts. I had to erect a 5m pole with a fringe area antenna, with a masthead amplifier to get acceptable TV reception.

For years I had to make do with dial-up internet at 28Kb/s, then 56Kb/s maximum (but I never got better than 35Kb/s). Then, when ADSL (phone line digital) access came along in the early 2000s, there was no line available in my street. I had to make do with wireless internet from Vivid, which never lived up to its sales pitch. It too was slow and prone to constant dropouts. The best I ever got was about 200Kb/s, I think, when they were advertising 9Mb/s. Bulldust.

It was the same for DAB+ digital radio – prone to fading. Just me moving around in the room was enough to make it fade out. FM was also variable.

But at least I had good old AM, for 720ABC, Radio National etc. Good solid AM reception, noise free, but low, low-fi.

Now at this location. I had hoped my troubles were over. Ha! In some respects they’ve only got worse.

Good old AM radio is so bad, so noisy as to be almost unlistenable here. Bloody hell, the 6WF high power transmitter is in Hamersley, “just down the road”; but “just down the road” from here is about 25Km away. That should be OK, but the poor soil conductivity in these coastal suburbs means poor signal strength. (Why? Because radio reception depends on a conduction path through the soil, through the “earth” literally, back to the transmitter. Amazing, eh? That’s electronics for you, that fantastic, fascinating subject.)

As you can see above, ABC DAB+ (digital) radio is officially shown as poor in this area. What’s so frustrating is that I can get 23 other digital radio stations fine, but the ABC stations I want (720Perth, Radio National and News Radio) are very iffy, prone to fading with the weather or my body movements. Only the ABC gives trouble! I can’t get the ABC stations at all on my new Sony tabletop receiver. Grrr.

FM radio is good, but FM doesn’t have the stations I want. So, two out of the three transmission media are very poor here and the only good one doesn’t carry the stuff I want. Ha!

OK, internet. I thought at first I’d be able to get ADSL2+, the fastest phone line internet, but no, I can only have ADSL, the lower standard one. OK, I thought, that’ll do. But the best I ever get is 1.3Mb/s. Most of the time that’s not bad, but I can never watch YouTube or any news item video and have it play smoothly. It always stutters and gives me the Please Wait symbol.

At the moment I’m throttled to 256Kb/s, having exceeded the quota for the month. It’s like being back to dial-up – I wait up to 5 minutes for pages to load, sometimes never loading. I’m downloading the non-beta version of Firefox at the moment and it’s been downloading for nearly an hour so far! I’m not sure if it’s dropping out and restarting: every time I look it seems to have gone back to the start.

Then I thought of internet radio – no radio reception required. I’ve just tried it on this computer (admittedly at the throttled speed and again, hopeless. Stopping and starting, stuttering, repeating, then dropping out. Unuseable. It’ll probably be OK when I’m “unthrottled” on 22nd August, but it’s the same as any other internet connection – mostly it works, but often it doesn’t.

So yesterday I thought, OK, time to change to fibre. I had previously thought it was available to me, not from the NBN but because the whole suburb is supposed to be cabled as a model planned suburb.

But when I checked with iiNet’s web site, it tells me it’s not available at this address. Dammit! I thought when I checked last year that it showed I could get it.

So summing up – poor TV reception, prone to dropping out. Rotten AM radio reception. Totally variable digital radio reception, also prone to fading and dropping out entirely. Good FM reception, but only on some stations (with a northern suburbs repeater), and not carrying the stations I want. Lowish speed ADSL internet. No fibre internet.

This is 2015? Not in my universe.


On the same lines, Windows 10. I’m eligible for the free copy on all three of my computers, but I’ve made at least three attempts (i.e. I’ve let it go ahead and download itself, all 2.7GB of it) on this computer so far and all three times it’s bombed out with a completely obscure error message:

Win10 install error 8Aug15Clicking Get Help with this error leads to nowhere. Therefore at this stage, the Win10 download is Not Working! Did I really think it would? Nah. I’ll have to wait until after the 22nd and try on one of the other computers.


The final episode of the three “The Politician’s Husband” was on Sunday night, and I still maintain it should be called The Time Traveller’s Husband, because it still showed it was made in MMXXIII, that is 2023. Some script assistant has made a goof, and no-one picked it up.


I’m a fan of the Bear Grylls Island programs, where 14 women and 14 men were dropped on two Pacific islands and left to fend for themselves for 6 weeks. Three episodes in, it’s time to draw some conclusions.

The women are hopeless! From the very beginning, whingeing, bickering, moaning, arguing, bitching, complaining and generally not co-operating. Two of them have dropped out – couldn’t take it. The rest are literally going around in circles, getting hopelessly lost, starving, becoming seriously dehydrated, and all the time whining and fighting each other. No plan, no leadership, no working together. They can’t keep a fire going.

The men, after a bad start, are a complete contrast – good humoured, co-operative, resourceful, able to plan and set tasks, with a working fire for water purification that they can keep burning. Admittedly, two guys had a big dispute at the start and both left after the second day. Very poor. Another has left a week or so in with illness, and another is being far too lazy. But the men work as a team, always getting on with each other, gathering masses of dry firewood and storing it to dry, keeping the fire going, catching a Cayman croc for food. Sure, they nearly starved, but they got past it.

So, men, good marks. Women, hopeless.


Bear Grylls’s favourite speak is Repetition, Repetition, Repetition and so on. Planning, planning, planning, that sort of thing. And so is SBS. Bloody hell, the barrage of repetitive promos! Endless repeats of the same boring promos for weeks on end. It’s so bad that I record all the programs and watch them later, fast forwarding through the commercial breaks to escape the repetition.

But now they’re even repeating the programs a few days apart! The Island programs are shown on Monday night, then repeated on Saturday night. What the … ? Until I realised this, I was wasting my time watching on Saturday night. Now, don’t bother. Very annoying.


Just waiting on Barry to inspect the CLK550 Merc at the car yard for me. I’ve pretty well decided to go for it. Good low mileage (43,000Km) so it should be OK. (6pm Tues, he’s just phoned and is looking at it right now.)

Then I want to hit the road. I think I might do a drive to Albany (via Margaret River for a night or two). I haven’t seen Albany in ten years, at least. With global warming, lower, cooler latitudes will be better. Only day dreaming, but I’d like to see it again.

Then, I want to drive east, across the Nullarbor. Probably the final chance I’ll get to do it – everything’s getting harder these days.

That Mercedes will be a very pleasant way to do it, I hope. Cruise control, seven speed automatic, active suspension, electronic stability control. anti-lock brakes, Bose sound system. Air con, of course. Leather seats. Steering wheel paddles for gear changes, and buttons on the wheel for radio and phone. In-dash TV screen and DVD player. Built-in GPS. This is a $130,000 car when new, don’t forget. All luxury included.

I want to option it up a bit and there’s a firm in Melbourne that imports Merc add-on bits from Germany. Wood and leather rimmed steering wheel for example, veneered wood centre console compartment lid, dress trims for head and tail lights, wood gear shift knob. AMG style grille etc. I’m not sure I want these, I’m just window shopping.

But it’s a fairly nervous idea – to set out alone across the Nullarbor. I’ll need to spend at least one night, possibly two on the road, in a parking bay. I won’t be able to drive all day as I used to; I’ll need to take it easy. If a breakdown happens, it doesn’t bear thinking about. Or hitting a ‘roo. You don’t get Merc service out in the middle of nowhere.

As for fuel economy, it’s the same as my present car, the V6 Magna. Both are about 12L/100Km around the city, improving to 8L/100Km on the open road. Not great, but pretty good for a big, powerful V8. Acceleration 0-100Km/h in 5.2 secs, by the way, and a 250Km/h electronically limited top speed. That’s supercar territory.


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