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The Ham Band releases “Seek You” on CD Baby 25 - February - 2012

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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2012 has brought a new The Ham Band release “Seek You” (“CQ”) available for download.

The Ham Band -  Seek You -  CD Baby Cover

Click here for a Link to “The Ham Band” “Seek You” at CD Baby.

Enjoy!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Trial Phase at the K9ZW Shack – Expert 1K-FA Amp and Palstar AT-Auto Tuner in Place 19 - February - 2012

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Shack.
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Did the gear shuffle, putting the SPE Expert 1K-FA Amplifier and the Palstar AT-Auto Antenna Tuner in place at my operating station.

Everything went into place well, with only some fussiness with my dual computer monitors frustrating me briefly. Enlisted Victor KC9NWB, my 16 year old youngest son, to diagnose the computer graphics card. He correctly thought that the card and monitors auto-sensed themselves into an adjusted configuration that took only a few key clicks and a restart (even though it should have needed a restart) to fully correct – thanks Vic KC9NWB!

Added Anderson Powerpoles to the power cord for the AT-Auto and it fired right up.

Gingerly I fired up the Expert Amp, leaving it in Standby mode.

I’ve decided to initially run both items in their Frequency-Sensing Automatic Modes, and to deal with interfacing their CAT (Computer Aided Transceiver) connections to the Flex-5000a and PowerSDR Software as a second phase for later in the week.

It was lickety-split and I was ready to make first transmissions as the 1.895 kHz 160m Everynight Net preamble was being read.

First reports from KD8KW were very favorable. In-between the two rounds of the evening’s 30+ member 160m roundtable, I did pop over to 14.260 for a 20m contact with K7UGA, the Arizona Special Event Station celebrating Arizona’s Centennial and using Sen. Barry Goldwater (SK) K7UGA call.

Returning to 160m was very quick and when I explained that I was on new gear more reports of booming easy to understand signals were received.

Band conditions and a call to late light dinner put an end to the first test session, which even though a session limited to a handful of QSOs on two bands, was an easier success than I had expected.

Hoping to give the revised station configuration a good workout this week and next weekend. More after I put a hundred or QSOs on the configuration.

Then it will be a matter of interfacing the CAT capabilities, followed with a stab at removing the station.

If it works out I would like to try to run at least some QSOs remotely from elsewhere in the house and perhaps from other locations over the internet. Would be a really thrill to be able to log a few QSOs while traveling if it can be made to work!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Morphing the K9ZW Shack – Expert 1K-FA Amp and Palstar AT-Auto 13 - February - 2012

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, K9ZW Shack.
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Tinkering a bit with the shack and at least for a while will be swapping out the Alpha-78 Amp and the Palstar AT4K(mil) Tuner for an Expert 1K-FA Amp and a Palstar AT-Auto Tuner.

Bought the Amp as a backup and field portable amp. I’d used this one before with a TenTec Omni-VII and Orion, and when my friend George W9EVT said he was going to sell it I quickly made him an offer which he accepted.

The original Expert 1K-FA Amp has a mixed history, with the USA dealership bouncing between firms, support being on/off, and importantly the original series I & II 1K-FA amps requiring upgrades to be reliable. This particular amp was fully updated by Bill Leahey, K0ZL (SK) a few weeks before he was injured & passed, and is ready to go.

While the Expert 1K-FA will be down on power from what the Alpha-78 can put out, I usually loaf the Alpha at about 60% which may bring the changes in ERP to a small percentage difference.

That the Expert is possible to remote and integrate in my computer driven station suggest it may be a great companion to the Flex-5000a.

The AT-Auto tuner is on “trial” as I am again interested in exploring how it will integrate into my station. Built by Palstar the AT-Auto is a bit of an orphan, as a legal battle ended with Palstar losing and Kessler Engineering wining. K.E. does support the tuner for repairs & accessories, but hasn’t any new units available. Last year at Dayton they said they were weeks away from launching an updated version – perhaps Dayton 2012 will see the new AT-Auto II launch?

With the Flex-5000a the AT-Auto should track band switching and be reasonably fast. Given that I only actually need a tuner for 160m and 80m with my main antennas, as 40m, 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m, 10m and 6m are all 1.3:1 or better untuned, I will likely avoid the one downside to the AT-Auto of a 45+ second mechanical inductor retune with a 160m-to-20m direct bandswitch. The AT-Auto is bit more a gamble, as if K.E. fails it could be an unsupported & unrepairable orphan. On the plus side the used prices reflect the risk and make it much more affordable.

If both the Expert 1K-FA and Palstar AT-Auto integrate well I will be narrowing down to the antenna switch and power-supply control to complete my station’s automation goals. In theory the result should be a Remote-Ready station 100% mouse controllable.

Oh, to answer the obvious question right away, neither the Alpha-78 nor Palstar AT4K(mil) are presently for sale. For the time being they will get put into heated storage.

I’m considering this more an experiment than a major station change, and I won’t even shoot new pictures until I decide exactly which of the possible permutations of Amps & Tuners I will run with.

Will be interesting!

73

Steve
K9ZW

BioLite Technology – Electricity from your Woodfire 10 - February - 2012

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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Very interesting stove!

Open wood fires are inefficient, wasting potential energy and creating toxic smoke due to incomplete combustion. Carefully designed stoves that use fans to blow air into the fire can dramatically improve combustion. However, such stoves require small amounts of electricity to power their fans and most people who cook on wood are without grid or battery access. BioLite stoves solve this problem by converting a fraction of the fire’s thermal energy into electricity to power our combustion improvement system. Excess electricity is made available to users for charging small electronic devices such as mobile phones, LED lights, GPS and many others.

via http://www.biolitestove.com/.

The newest versions of this stove port their excess electrical production to a USB port for charging a battery, a LED lamp, a Cellphone or even a radio’s battery pack.

Not that you would want to make this your sole way to recharge gear, though as a dual purpose piece of field gear it is pretty neat.

Have one on reserve for the “K9ZW go-pack” from BiolIte’s first production run due to ship this summer.

Will see if it is just a useful way to make coffee or soup when out playing radios, or if I can actually get useful power from it.

I also have a Firefly (Desk Lamp with Solar Panel) that can charge a cellphone or iPod. Will do a comparison when the BioLite is here.

An additional article: BioLite Stoves Charges Your Phone

73

Steve
K9ZW

Teletweety – Mechanical Teletype doing Twitter 8 - February - 2012

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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Teletweety - Mechanical Teletype doing Twitter

Teletweety - Mechanical Teletype doing Twitter

Eric AG6EB has done something very cool, interfacing a 1960’s Mechanical Teletype to the Internet:

Video: Teletweety – Mechanical Teletype doing Twitter.

From his Website (Link is the .com in the first line):

WELCOME TO TELETWEETY.COM

TELETWEETY IS A 1960-ISH MODEL 28 TELETYPE TELEPRINTER WITH KEYBOARD. IT SENDS AND RECEIVES TEXT USING FIVE-BIT BAUDOT CODE AT EITHER 45.5 OR 75 BAUD. WHICH IS TO SAY THAT YOU CAN PROBABLY TYPE FASTER THAN IT CAN.

IT IS CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET VIA A CHEAP LINUX NETBOOK WHICH HANDLES CHARACTER SET CONVERSION, ACCEPTS COMMANDS AND CONTROLS FROM THE TELETYPE, AND HANDLES THE NETWORK INTERFACING.

TELETWEETY CAN POST AND RECEIVE TWITTER UPDATES AND DIRECT MESSAGES ON TWITTER VIA A CUSTOM TWITTER CLIENT.  IT CAN ALSO AUTOMATICALLY RECEIVE AND PRINT EMAIL, COMPOSE EMAIL, AND CHAT INTERACTIVELY ON THE ICB NETWORK.  VARIOUS OTHER FUNCTIONS HAVE BEEN WRITTEN OR ARE IN PROGRESS SUCH AS NEWS HEADLINES, WEATHER REPORTS, AND PRINTING EXCERPTS FROM WEB SITES.

73

Steve
K9ZW

National Traffic System NTS Training Manual 7 - February - 2012

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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Are you also curious about the NTS (National Traffic System)?

Do you also wonder how it prospers despite all the naysayers that claim it is is a relic?

Do you have an interest in how technology is being used to do one of teh most basic Amateur Radio tasks – passing traffic?

Perhaps a read of the NTS Training Manual would fill you in:

National Traffic System NTS Training ManualBy R. Bruce Winchell, N8UTCopyright 1997

Permission is hereby granted for non-profit reproduction of this material provided this statement is included and the material is used in its entirety, or properly credited by same, if used in part.PURPOSE OF THIS MANUAL

Whenever the Authors have attended a class on the NTS, the instructor managed to “lose” 90% of his students in the first ten minutes.

They simply go into too much detail. The NTS is not a difficult service to understand.

There are, unfortunately, a lot of little details concerning the Radiogram forms. Most instructors get side-tracked by these details.

They drone on and on about details and their students feel overwhelmed.

The students seldom become involved in the NTS. They have been led to feel that there is too much to absorb.

We have addressed the need to keep it simple.

A definite attempt has been made to apply the KISS Keep It Simple, Stupid! principle to the main text of this manual..

Some of the manual contents were left in Outline format so that different concepts and statement relationships can be very clearly understood.

A set of Appendixes furnish the details on various topics . . . not the main text.

The purpose of this manual is to provide a simple teaching tool for you to use in learning about the National Traffic System NTS

PREFACE by John Freeman, KB8ZDX

The National Traffic System NTS seems, to a lot of operators, to be this big, huge, complex operation that is very difficult to understand.

Some of you may feel that you have to be an Extra with 20 years experience as a Ham to get involved in NTS because its all done on the HF bands and they use a language . . . so different that you need 20 years of just listening to understand it.

WRONG!!

After going over this material, you will understand that it is not complicated or difficult to be involved in the NTS.

Its members are operators just like yourself.

You do not have to hold an Extra, Advanced, or General License.

There is a place for everyone in the NTS.

These materials are designed to teach you not only how to get involved, but how to be effective once you do get involved.

This subject will be broken down simply.

As you go through the manual, it will become more complex only because we put most of the details at the end.

If you start at the beginning and work your way through, you will have absorbed enough simple background information to make sense out of the rest.

The most important part of the NTS and this manual, is the part that the authors cannot include.

That part is you.

This manual means nothing unless you use it to improve yourself and your operating skills.

We welcome the opportunity to help you do that.

LINK via National Traffic System NTS Training Manual.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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