Thursday, 6 February 2020

2020 Vision - Update 1

This update follows on from Tuesday's post, below.

Earlier today I went down to Derby Cathedral to meet up with two technicians from the oddly-named IT company, Worm Purple. Named after a child's accidental description of weirdly-coloured ethernet cables, Worm Purple provides the hardware connectivity for Derby City Council's IT infrastructure.

Worm Purple installing wireless network link

Tim and Adam had been busy. Using a small 'cherry picker'  they had already fixed up a new wireless link onto a streetside pole on Irongate by the time I had arrived. It was one half of the final network link we have been pushing and waiting for over recent months. The unit was aimed upwards, towards the clock face on Derby Cathedral, so our next task was to establish whether it would be 'seen' by a similar unit placed inside the tower's 'clock room', where our webcamera kit is located.

As the years go by (and our project has been going since 2006) it seems that every time I ascend the ancient spiral stone staircase, my knees get progressively weaker, and I get increasingly  out of breath! Today was no different. Once inside, we rigged up an ethernet cable to a power supply unit so we could test out the other half of this wireless equipment, manufactured by SIKLU.

Adam and Tim from Worm Purple with one half of a SIKLU wireless access unit
As I had expected, we needn't have worried about the four or five centimetre-thick slab of painted sandstone which forms the clockface. It took just a few moments to clamber up behind the clock-face and establish a link by pointing it roughly downwards towards the street below and allowing the units to talk to one another. Great - so our next step was to find a way to fix the unit into position without doing any damage to the historic stonework of the tower.  So no drill-holes and bolts into the walls!

As luck would have it, there were already two solid horizontal beams running behind the clock face, and slightly staggered in their position. It seemed a simple task to tie a pole to these two beams, resulting in an ideal to point downwards. So, after getting them to pose for a picture Tim and Adam shot off with the radio unit, removed the other unit already in place in Irongate and sent them off to our friend an colleague, Tim Unwin at Derby Council. His task is now to configure the units to the Council network, prior to them being refitted at either end of our link. Once done, we hope it should be a relatively quick task to get the connection reestablished to our webcam hosting company.

Whilst we were up in the tower, we were delighted to able to watch our male peregrine drop in to the nest platform and do a little bit of scrape-making. He lay down on the gravel bed, pushing back with his talons, slowly carving out the simple depression into which the female will lay her eggs towards the end of next month. Before we left, and by way of thanks, I took Tim and Adam up to spiral stairs for a quick tour of the tower. We visited the carillon that automatically chimes the quarter-hour bells and another which plays musical tunes two or three times a day, and then on to look down onto the bells themselves, before coming out on top of the tower for a grand view across the city.
View onto Irongate from the top of Derby Cathedral's tower.

Hopefully, by next week we will at least have our network connection reestablished, and from there we can proceed to configure the public-facing webcams again.

Further updates to follow.

Nick M
Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project


Kate said...

Fantastic well done and again many thanks.

Wendy Bartter said...

Many thanks Nick M & all for your heroic efforts in getting webcams restored ... methinks you need to consume more Spinach ... it worked for Popeye! Lol

Unknown said...

Great news Nick, thanks for your efforts and the updates.

Plenty of action from the birds of late with both in the platform and 'ee-chupping' yesterday afternoon and the female loudly food begging both yesterday and this morning. Yesterday, the male seemed less than impressed by this and flew to the hotel to preen in the sun forcing the female to fly out and try to get her own lunch, much to the annoyance of several BH Gulls above Full street who suddenly found a hungry Peregrine hurtling towards them!


Kate said...

Thanks Anthony
Good to know,that it's looking promising.

Connie said...

This may be too much to ask, but could you also look into reconnecting the two LiveCams Pro links? That’s the app I use to watch the falcons

Anne said...

Fantastic news, thanks to you all for your hard work.

Anne in Allestree

Unknown said...

All looking good for the new season down at the cathedral. The female in particular is spending much more time on the platform. Plenty of scraping and ee-chupping from her yesterday and she is perched up there again today (the male is on the Jury's).

Derby's female (if indeed she is the same one, as we suspect) lays quite late by urban Peregrine standards but if I was a gambling man I would bet on an earlier egg this year!


Unknown said...

Great news! Thank you. Really looking forward to seeing the peregrines again.

ren13 said...

Thanks to all involved and hoping all works as planned to get Mrs. and Mr. P back on line.

I do actually like the name Worm Purple, at 60 still a kid at heart lol.