Utility Measurement with Home Assistant

I’ve been interested in adding utility measurement features to my Home Assistant installation for over a year. After a number of tries, I finally have most of the functionality I set out to implement. My impetus for adding detailed utility measurement goes back to a quote by entrepreneur (and founder of GoDaddy) Bob Parsons, “Anything that is measured and watched, improves.” Now that I have … Continue reading Utility Measurement with Home Assistant

Radio Tower

LimeSDR Mini Initial Thoughts and Setup Guide

I’ve been using the $22 RTL-SDR dongle for the last few years to learn about software defined radio (SDR.) I decided it was time to graduate to the next level of SDR functionality, which for me includes the ability to transmit, a wider bandwidth and a higher frequency range. There is a huge gap between the RTL-SDR and the next most sophisticated SDR in both … Continue reading LimeSDR Mini Initial Thoughts and Setup Guide

Suburban Square Restaurant History At 105 Coulter

This spot on the square at 105 Coulter Avenue has been home to a number of (mostly) long-running restaurants over the last 30 years. It’s not completely clear when this location was constructed and what the original use was for the domed octagonal space that juts out from the front. In the mid-1980s it was Eden Restaurant, a trendy cafeteria-style concept launched by Steven Poses, … Continue reading Suburban Square Restaurant History At 105 Coulter

Ardmore Macy’s Closing And Renovation

The Ardmore Macy’s closed its doors for good on Sunday, March 20th 2016 after almost 86 years of continuous operation. The Suburban Square Macy’s was opened in May 1930 as Strawbridge and Clothier, one of the first suburban branch department stores in the country. In 1996 the store was purchased by May Department stores, and took on the Macy’s name in 2006. What little merchandise … Continue reading Ardmore Macy’s Closing And Renovation

Update: RisingHF Gateway RHF0M301 with Loriot Community Network

It’s been about a year since I posted an unofficial manual for getting the Seeed Studio 915 MHz RisingHF Raspberry Pi gateway up and running with Loriot. In that time, I had hoped that there would be more resources available for enthusiasts to find information about setting up gateways, nodes and sensors. However, it looks like complete and reliable information is still hard to come … Continue reading Update: RisingHF Gateway RHF0M301 with Loriot Community Network

Water Metering With Home Assistant

I’ve pretty much settled on Home Assistant as my DIY automation platform. While it is not perfect, it has the right mix of features, simplicity and customization for my needs. I also like that it is written in Python and includes support for custom dashboards using HADashboard. I’ll be adding additional posts about home automation platforms in general, but for now I want to concentrate … Continue reading Water Metering With Home Assistant

Septa key machines

Anticipating Septa Key

Since Septa is on the verge of introducing their new fare technology, Septa Key, to the Regional Rail system, I thought this would be a good opportunity to reminisce about one of their earlier automated fare systems. In the early 1990s, Septa provided orange refrigerator-sized ticket vending machines at most Regional Rail stations. I scoured the web for a picture of one of these hulking … Continue reading Anticipating Septa Key

HD Radio waveform

Listening to HD Radio with an SDR

“HD Radio” is the technology by which US radio stations broadcast digital audio along with their regular analog signal. Standard FM radios only receive the analog signal and ignore the digital data. You need an HD Radio to listen to the digital audio. HD radios are most popular as features in newer automobiles, but adoption outside of car radios, as well as awareness by the … Continue reading Listening to HD Radio with an SDR

Seeed Studio LoRa Kit

Getting Started with LoRa

LoRa is a radio technology for long range, low bit rate communication among sensors (temperature, light, location etc…) and other IOT devices. The sensors send their data to a radio receiver known as a gateway. The leading protocol used by sensors and gateways to manage communications, frequency, data rate and security is known as LoRaWAN. The gateway transfers the sensor data to the cloud so … Continue reading Getting Started with LoRa

Ardmore, PA Radio Shack Closed

My local Radio Shack closed on June 27, 2017 after 50 years in operation. This was my go to place for electronic parts and occasional electronics since 1988 and it will be greatly missed. Originally the store was listed as one that would remain open, but it was not to be. In addition to the store’s longevity, some of the staff had been there for … Continue reading Ardmore, PA Radio Shack Closed