Trixie’s Great Adventure

I have been told not to amphomorphise motorcycles as they don’t like it. But I do like giving vehicles names just to have a bit of fun rather saying Yamaha TRX850, the red one. Why am I talking about this well I have just visited some friends in Cambridge to take on the ownership of Trixie the Yamaha TRX850. This bike has been within the mailing list of Ixion for many years going from Mike (mlh) > Iain (McSatan) > (Dr) Fong > AndrewP > NeilR > Me with various owners making modifications, racing and even just taking the bike out for a damned good ride you can say this bike has had an interesting life.

Neil has been doing various bits of work to this bike over the past year or two some of this has meant he had to buy spares, well spare bikes. I agreed that it would be best if I took on these spares. I hadn’t quite realised how many spares he has managed to collect.

I am now the owner of 3 Yamaha TRX850s in a graded scale of disrepair, Trixie is all OK and just in the need for a bath and maybe some tarting up. The next is The Colonel (named after one of its owners) which is fairly up together other than it had a mishap at some point and the wiring loom has melted a bit and so requires some work to get it back on the road. Then there is Fozzy (again a previous owner) which is down to a frame and a pile of bits where NeilR removed parts to fix Trixie. The names the last two aren’t set in stone yet, just a way for me to compartmentalise them in my head for now.

If you want to read up on what Neil did with Trixie you can find it all on his blog.

I hired a van and with my trusty side-kick aka Dad, we drove the 4hours to Ely where we met NeilR at JamesD’s place where some of the “spares” had been kept. Thankfully I hired a big enough van.

Other 4 hours drive home and it was now 9 pm and we had to just get all this stuff away as I had to get the hire van back. The next day I tasked myself with sorting out the insurance on the bikes and later after the rain slowed I progressed to getting the bike stored away neatly. I need a bigger shed! To make room I had to get rid of a bike that I have had for more years than I can remember, my trusty Yamaha TY80. It was sad to let it go, as me, my sisters and my cousins all learnt to ride on it, but not to worry as it is gone to my Niece and Nephew to look after on the proviso it is never to be sold, as its a family hairy loom.

Yamaha TY80

Yamaha TY80

I did plan on trying to tackle the pile of bits I have that are preventing me from getting to the shed but the weather is damp and I am not in the mood for it yet.

I feel like it could be fun to make an E-book of the travels of Trixie and her various owners over the years. “Trixie’s Great Adventure” sounds like a fun title. But before I get too far I needed to do some admin work such as get some of the info I need for the bike, so I created a folder and added some of the pics I took when I bought it, NeilR gave me some of his pics and a Yamaha parts list and a colour wiring diagram. I then tracked down the manual for it etc. and joined the forum.

Then I started to look at graphics, and I found a font that seems to be similar to the one for the TRX so I mocked up an image for the forums but also so that I can later use it on artwork for the bike.

Yeah, I am that sad. The font btw is Sofachrome and its not the same but damned close.

Original logo and graphics on the bike.
My close approximation of the logo

Detecting Lightning

For a long time, I have been interested in the weather and like my father, I also enjoy watching lightning listening for the thunder. One of the internet projects that I found very enjoyable to view was the or which is part of a large community project to track where lightning hits the ground. After a period of lightning storms a few years ago I signed up to the waiting list on Blitzortung to see if I could get my hands on a kit to rung from home. Well, several years later I got an email from Egon, offering me the option to buy the kit. I pondered the idea for a few days and then replied with yes. A few weeks later a parcel arrived and due to it being a wet weekend I eagerly opened it up and started work.

Parts from Blitzortung.

I ordered the full kit for the latest board called System Blue 19.5. The kit is the board, the case, USB power supply and 3 ferrite rod antennas. As you can see most of the surface mount stuff if already done but its sold as a DIY kit so I had to get the iron out and solder the last few items on. This isn’t very hard and it is fairly obvious how the bits are attached the most confusing bit for me was the manuals, there are a few guides and manuals and they are written for the ever-developing kit. This manual is for the older Sytem Red but is rather informative but has been superseded by this manual.

I ordered 3 ferrite core antennas and the 3rd is an optional one. For now, I am running just the two and will design and build a holder for the rods at a later date. This is referred to as the H-Field antenna and the other is the E-Field Antenna and has a circuit mounted

Once powered up you can access the interface for the unit via a web browser and after a few clicks, it was setup.

The interface is ok and works, it has a few bugs but for the most part, it is ok. I think the issues are around me tinkering with it as I test out settings. I have had it running for a few weeks now and have had the odd crash, and the other evening it had a lot of noise, causing false readings but moving stuff slightly higher up fixed this.

Typical reading I have had from the detector.

I have some work to do as I do have a fair bit of noise still but I am still working only a meter or so away from my PC.

The noise level isn’t fun.

But for now I am sending data into the system and you can view my station on both these pages.


I will write a bit more about this subject as I learn more. Plenty of tinkering still to do.