* Posts by Stephen May

24 posts • joined 9 Jul 2007

The Ministry of Silly Printing: But I don't want my golf club correspondence to say 'UNCLASSIFIED' at the bottom

Stephen May

Re: Shared printers

You didn't happen to work on the software for the Turftrax tracking system? That was developed by Scientific Generics and we took it out into the field and got it working, back when I worked for them.

Northrop Grumman's MEV-2 gives Intelsat satellite a new lease on life until the next rescue in another five years

Stephen May

Re: Yeeeees, but.

Eventually the TWTAs in the satellite will die, they have a finite life due to the electron beam source eventually eroding away. It will need wholesale replacement one day.

British Army does not Excel at spreadsheets: Soldiers' newly announced promotions are revoked after sorting snafu

Stephen May

Re: Oh dear !

I'm 99% sure we own where you used to be based - ROC Lawford Heath?

Intelsat orbital comms satellite is back online after first robo-recovery mounting and tug job gets it back into position

Stephen May

Re: Old stuff

We still use TWTAs a lot in Satcomms. I've got a trio of wideband (12.75GHz-14.5GHz) 750W TWTAs in use. Solid state can't match the bandwidth and the power of them. I've got a few C-Band SSPAs that are meant to be the equivalent of TWTAs, but in practise they're much more unreliable. SSPAs are OK for up to 200W, anything above that it's masses of phase-combined SSPAs or TWTAs

Stephen May

Re: Old stuff

Working in the industry, generally what causes a satellite to reach end of life is the lack of fuel for station keeping. The electronics tend to keep on working far longer than the fuel. The transmitters generally are Travelling Wave Tube Amplifiers which tend to just keep going and have no views on being faster or slower. The only things I've ever seen to cause a satellite to reach the end of it's life are the fuel running out or a catastrophic failure that kills it dead in orbit, such as when AMOS 5 died.

When the satellite network has literally gone glacial, it's vital you snow your enemy

Stephen May

Re: Satellite in the 90's

One of our antennas here is VERY attractive to the feathered gits, they're always pecking in the feed window for some reason. Still, can't beat the story as relayed to me by an engineer from ViaSat. They'd installed one of their big Ka-Band antennas somewhere in South America for a customer. Now, the antenna wasn't due to go into service yet, so once the acceptance testing was complete, the customer shut it down. And by shut it down, they shut EVERYTHING down, including the feed system dehydrator. Birds then pecked in the feed window and the feed totally flooded, including the amplifiers. They were left with a rather large bill to replace it all......

Roses are red, Ajit Pai is tickled. Broadband from SpaceX gets him out of a pickle

Stephen May

Re: KU Band?

Ku band does get affected, we compensate by having Automatic Uplink Power Control and having a bit of margin in the link budget. Ka-band is the one that REALLY gets hit by rain fade.

Engineer named Jason told to re-write the calendar

Stephen May

Re: @Prst. V.Jeltz

I know that system you refer to very well, did you have the old SEDAT crate, or was this in the TT1200 and PC demux days? I used to look after the processing gear just prior to transmission of the service :)

Watch SpaceX's rocket dramatically detonate, destroying a $200m Facebook satellite

Stephen May


I've just spent two months overhauling an 11m DBS-Band antenna ready for services on the AMOS-6 when it went live. God knows what we're going to do with it now!

Full duplex! Bristol boffins demo Tx and Rx on the same frequency AT THE SAME TIME

Stephen May

Is this just new in Cellular?

We've been doing this in Satcomms for a few years now, I've got a link here using Comtech's Carrier-in-carrier technology which works in exactly the same way.

Ten... PC games you may have missed

Stephen May

Re: ...And then I saw

Nope, Rayman doesn't come with ANY DRM at all: http://pcper.com/news/Editorial/Ubisoft-announces-dropping-DRM-Rayman-Origins-PC

Japan develops powered armour suit for nuke workers

Stephen May

I'd say there's prior art there...

...seeing as the first SkyNet bird was launched in 1969. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skynet_%28satellite%29

Bogged-down Mars rover may be doomed to chilly death

Stephen May
Thumb Up

War of the worlds of course..

Was listening to it in the office this morning after Forever Autumn was played on the radio on the way in.

US Navy's robot stealth carrier plane unveiled

Stephen May

@ Peter Flynn

It's not the cockpit, it's the air intake.

'I don't blame pilot', says San Diego jet crash father

Stephen May


The FA-18D is single seat, so no navigator onboard.

Wiggy scuffle pampernaut lawyers back in court

Stephen May

2 points

One, amanfromMars post that is actually *comprehensible*? And two, that sub-heading sounds like a show from TvGoHome!

Byron review calls for computer game ratings

Stephen May

Again, the parents are the problem

We can have all the ratings systems in the world, but they're for nothing if the parents buy the games for their kids. A case in point: I was walking through the town centre the other day and saw a lad of around 11-12 years old with a copy of Clive Barker's Jericho. This is a VERY horrific game, and rightly deserves it's 18 Certificate. It was fairly obvious that his Dad had bought it for him, as 'It's only a game, innit?'

eBayer punts Wii for £1m

Stephen May

1500 pounds now...

He's dropped the price to 1,500GBP now, and said that it's been sold outside of Ebay. He also says that he can't cancel the auction, so please don't bid and please don't call him!

Microsoft hawks Home Server

Stephen May

Why line Microsofts pocket?

1. Find oldish, but still fairly decent machine.

2. Add Hard drives to suit

3. Install $FREEOS of choice with Samba

This would certainly be my preference, and it would probably be a lot more stable and reliable as well!

Racist Reg hacks slammed for 'vitriolic hatred'

Stephen May

Someone need to get a sense of humour

I think Mr. Bevan could do well to take a leaf out of the book of an ex-colleague of mine who was from Wales. When confronted by the inevitable 'sheep shagger' comments, his only reply was 'We shag them and you eat them!' See, Mr Bevan, that is what is technically known as a JOKE, as is the original article.

Miserable Brits declare War on Comfort

Stephen May

Re: Silly Argument

Er, I don't know what sort of patio heater you've ever come across, but all the ones that I've ever come across are, without exception, gas powered. And they're extremely good at what they do as well.

O2 updates Orbit to WM6

Stephen May

Still not working....

I've just tried to download the new version, and the website absolutely refuses to recognise my serial number as a valid one. Time for an e-mail to o2 methinks....

Boffins build miniature robot Jesus

Stephen May

...no you're not

Nope, I read it with the "N" and "T" reversed as well. I think it works better that way, actually...

Bretons turn on Britons

Stephen May

Not typical Bretons

Further to Simon's comment above, my Dad has a house in central Brittany, and everyone we know is amazingly friendly. It's possibly still the funniest thing ever hearing my Dad speak Breton-accented French.


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