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To do Field Day with the Flex-6700 or not? 20 - June - 2013

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Flex-6000, FlexRadio Systems, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, K9ZW Operations.
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Question at hand, with the new radio due in tomorrow do I take it to Field Day Saturday, not take it, or do I use it but as a 1D station from home?

Choices, choices…..

Tracking says I should be here before lunch tomorrow….

73

Steve
K9ZW

Rack Mount – Preparing for the FlexRadio Systems Flex-6700 15 - June - 2013

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Flex-6000, FlexRadio Systems, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, K9ZW Operations, K9ZW Shack.
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Search for a rack found either very rough gear, very dated gear (one which I will hopefully acquire for vintage gear later) or hugely expensive racks.

Bought an unused surplus odd comm’s rack – double-ended doghouse thing.  Wrong shape, but built like a tank.

Got my buddy Ray to cut in basically in half, moved wheels to the lower section, and reassemble with stiffeners.  Ray did this with a purposeful 2 inch set back on upper cube to make it more pleasing.

It is reinforced and now ready for gear

Lower will get shelves for amps, power supplies, and tuner.

Upper will get the Flex-6700, a rackable customer i7 Win7 computer, full W2IHY set up, Greenheron Rotor Control  and Array solutions PowerMaster SWR/Watts meter, Rb Frequency Reference, and Flex-5000 (possibly on top of the whole rack if I run out of room).

Looking at another rack I found for vintage/boatanchor gear (SP-600 and similar).

BTW the Collins S-Line Station will go on a desk – show-n-tell sort of thing.

Here is a sketch (click on it for a larger version):

K9ZW Main Rack

K9ZW Main Rack

Should work pretty good!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Afterglow – Wisconsin QSO Party 2013 10 - March - 2013

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Operations.
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Today was the 2013 Wisconsin QSO Party. I was able to get on the air for over a 1/3 of the time, having family commitments to work around.

All told I logged just over 100 contacts, for a claimed score of 4815.

My station was Single Operator – High Power as I did run the SPE Expert at 400 watts pushing me out of the standard category.

I used N3FJP’s Wisconsin QSO Logging Software, which as always worked the treat.

We have 72 counties in Wisconsin, and I didn’t even log a half (I think I had 33) but had a lot of fun.

Here is what the output log looks like:

START-OF-LOG: 2.0
CREATED-BY: N3FJP’s WIQP 2.0
LOCATION: WI
CONTEST: Wisconsin State QSO Party
CALLSIGN: K9ZW
NAME: Steve Weinert
ADDRESS: 3616 Shepherd Lane
ADDRESS: Manitowoc, WI 54220
EMAIL: k9zw AT mac DOT com
ADDRESS-COUNTY: MAN
CLUB: MANCORAD W9DK
OPERATORS:
CATEGORY: Single OP Fixed
CATEGORY-POWER: HIGH
CLAIMED-SCORE: 4815
SOAPBOX:
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1852 K9ZW MAN N0XT MN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1853 K9ZW MAN KX9M WAU
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1854 K9ZW MAN KE9N IRO
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1856 K9ZW MAN KC9FFJ DAN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1856 K9ZW MAN KC9CDW MAN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1857 K9ZW MAN W9AV DAN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1902 K9ZW MAN W0ER BUR
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1904 K9ZW MAN K0NLR GRE
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1910 K9ZW MAN N9EZF FON
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1913 K9ZW MAN NI9Z PRI
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1917 K9ZW MAN K9BTQ MIL
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1920 K9ZW MAN WA9FCL MAR
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1922 K9ZW MAN N9PAR BRO
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1923 K9ZW MAN WA9LJK DAN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1924 K9ZW MAN W9DUB MIL
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1925 K9ZW MAN KF0Q MN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1926 K9ZW MAN WX9EP CHI
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1927 K9ZW MAN N2BJ IL
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1929 K9ZW MAN KB9VBR MAR
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1936 K9ZW MAN N9NE POR
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1937 K9ZW MAN K9PG IL
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1937 K9ZW MAN N9YJ IL
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1942 K9ZW MAN NV9W MAN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1944 K9ZW MAN W9WLX MIL
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1948 K9ZW MAN W9VCL SHE
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1951 K9ZW MAN KG0O MN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1952 K9ZW MAN KA9VHG ROC
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1952 K9ZW MAN KA5NJA WOO
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1953 K9ZW MAN KC9UHH MAN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1953 K9ZW MAN KB9VQM FON
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1954 K9ZW MAN KC9IL IL
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1954 K9ZW MAN K9BTP ASH
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1955 K9ZW MAN K9WM GRA
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1956 K9ZW MAN W0HI OH
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1956 K9ZW MAN N9GQ ROC
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1957 K9ZW MAN N8DKA MI
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1957 K9ZW MAN W9JA LAC
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1958 K9ZW MAN W9MP BAR
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1958 K9ZW MAN NV9L KEN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 1959 K9ZW MAN W9JET PIE
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2002 K9ZW MAN AA9SJ SHE
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2003 K9ZW MAN K9OC WSB
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2004 K9ZW MAN W9GL DAN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2006 K9ZW MAN W9JFM KEW
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2007 K9ZW MAN W9HAM BRO
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2008 K9ZW MAN KC9E MRN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2008 K9ZW MAN K9QCEA EAU
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2008 K9ZW MAN K3ZO MD
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2009 K9ZW MAN K9JIG BRO
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2009 K9ZW MAN NK9U DAN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2010 K9ZW MAN KB0INZ MN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2010 K9ZW MAN NW9T IL
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2011 K9ZW MAN WV9E LAC
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2011 K9ZW MAN K9KR RAC
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2012 K9ZW MAN K0ZR VA
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2012 K9ZW MAN AC9DE DAN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2013 K9ZW MAN KX9DX IL
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2013 K9ZW MAN W9JE DOO
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2014 K9ZW MAN N8XX MI
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2015 K9ZW MAN W0IU MN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2015 K9ZW MAN K9XB SHE
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2016 K9ZW MAN K0CD STC
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2016 K9ZW MAN N9MW GRE
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2018 K9ZW MAN KC8BNP IN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2020 K9ZW MAN KA9FZR MIL
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2021 K9ZW MAN N8TC MI
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2021 K9ZW MAN AB9IO WIN
QSO: 7000 PH 2013-03-10 2023 K9ZW MAN W9EAU EAU
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-10 2029 K9ZW MAN W9EAU EAU
QSO: 14000 PH 2013-03-10 2032 K9ZW MAN AC5O LA
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-10 2353 K9ZW MAN WW9R WAU
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-10 2354 K9ZW MAN W9QL IL
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-10 2355 K9ZW MAN W9MP BAR
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-10 2356 K9ZW MAN KC9FFJ DAN
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-10 2357 K9ZW MAN KB9KEG GRL
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-10 2359 K9ZW MAN AB9XI WAS
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-10 2359 K9ZW MAN KC9CDW MAN
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0001 K9ZW MAN N9WQ FON
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0002 K9ZW MAN K9KR RAC
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0003 K9ZW MAN AG9G PRI
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0004 K9ZW MAN K9GS WAU
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0009 K9ZW MAN K9KL BRO
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0010 K9ZW MAN KB9OWD DOD
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0012 K9ZW MAN K9WC GRL
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0013 K9ZW MAN KO9LR GRE
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0015 K9ZW MAN KC9BLE BRO
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0016 K9ZW MAN KF0Q MN
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0017 K9ZW MAN N9UA WIN
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0017 K9ZW MAN N9NE POR
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0019 K9ZW MAN ND0L OUT
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0023 K9ZW MAN KB9VXJ DOO
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0023 K9ZW MAN W9JFM KEW
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0024 K9ZW MAN KE9N IRO
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0026 K9ZW MAN W9LW IN
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0027 K9ZW MAN W9NAW PEP
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0028 K9ZW MAN KX9M WAU
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0030 K9ZW MAN WV9E LAC
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0030 K9ZW MAN W9AV DAN
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0033 K9ZW MAN K9IAC MIL
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0034 K9ZW MAN N9EZF FON
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0035 K9ZW MAN W9PN ROC
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0038 K9ZW MAN KB9LIE LAF
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0041 K9ZW MAN KB9VBR MAR
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0045 K9ZW MAN NK9G MIL
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0046 K9ZW MAN NQ9A DAN
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0055 K9ZW MAN KA9BAE DOD
QSO: 3500 PH 2013-03-11 0057 K9ZW MAN K9VS WAU
END-OF-LOG:

Tomorrow evening I will recheck my log and submit it.

Given our wet damp weather, this was a really fun way to spend (part of) a Sunday afternoon.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Casual Contesting – 2012 CQ SSB World Wide DX Contest. 28 - October - 2012

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Operations.
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Has been the CQ World Wide DX SSB Contest. Contest this weekend, and true to form there have been plenty of distractions.  Tom KC9JGD had a chance to visit home from University 6 hours drive away, my father needed some help which Tom KC9JGD, Vic KC9NWB and I spent a few hours at, we had a dinner engagement dating from before I realized the contest was this weekend, an appointment out of town that took four hours, the Green Bay Packers had a football game in during the contest (who schedules these football games, really… <grin>) and mother nature through in a charming wonderful weekend of weather begging for one to go outside (and do those chores….) … whew…..

Despite the conflicts I did get in two two-hour slots and ran up 50,000 points fairly quickly.

This contest is always a favorite as the report is simple – Signal and Your CQ Zone (Click for Zone Map) (mine is 04) and off you go.

The rules take a bit of study as you cannot hop around bands on a whimsy, a new Zone or a new Country is worth more than more contacts from places you already worked on that band, and domestic QSOs are basically worthless once you get one per USA Zone.

It also is a contest that is good fun whether you work it “contest serious” or “in between all that stuff in life style” like I did.

I spent a fair bit of time on 10 meters, picking up a number of first time DX on 10m along the way.

Again I used N3FJP’s CQ WW Contest Log Program, which though it lacks in “Eye Candy” having screens like an old Windows 3.21 Program, does the contest logging job precisely and with little bother.

I’ve been a bit off contests as of late, having known each contest weekend that I am short of time and have too many conflicts to put in a real effort.

The 2012 CQ SSB WPX was almost an afterthought, as I knew I could only get on a short while.

But it turned out to be a blast – when I ran up 5,000 points I wasn’t vert thrilled, and when I came back on I thought “let me just double that up to something over 10,000 points and I’ll get back to other things.”

When I passed 10,000 suddenly I was self-challenging myself to get to 20,000, then 40,000 points. Knowing I had obligations that wouldn’t move or go away, I raised the bar to 50,000 points and at 153 QSOs I passed that mark up.

Yes, only a trivial amount of QSOs. I went unaided (no spots) and just worked listening the band from end-to-end which netted me some great multipliers.

Took only a few moments to upload my log to me off-site storage, and to email it to the contest robot. At first I had two errors – nothing in a mandatory “Locations” header line and a typo in the club (Society of Midwest Contesters). The error message was clear and a minute later a successful resubmission of my log was acknowledged by the contest robot.

Good fun and recommended!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Shack RF – The Unwelcomed Return 21 - October - 2012

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Shack.
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Many of us have experienced the mischief of RF in the Shack.  Computers that freeze or act badly, distortion on our audio, shack components that lock up or other RF induced issues if we’re only have a bit of problem.  RF nipping or burning fingers, electrical things damaged or burt cables if it is really bad.

Stray RF in the shack is also considered not good from the health angle, as RF exposure is never a good thing.

Some of the causes can be loose connectors, lose of grounding, component or cable failure, cable interaction, overload, or other harder to identify issues.

Currently I’m experiencing some RF operational problems, mostly centered on certain 20m frequencies.

They started when I switched to the Palstar AT-Auto Antenna Tuner and SPE Expert Amplifier.

So first order of business will be to swap each of those out to see if it goes away.

Since it is specific frequency areas, I’ll be looking at the cables, including cable lengths next.  Also how they all ended up physically.

I’ll be double checking by grounding system.

Sometimes the physical proximity of shack components (stacking or what is side by side) can cause some issues, so I’ll look at that.

If I am still facing issues then, I’ll decide if it is ferrite beads on all the computer cables next.

Of course I can minimize operations at the 20m frequencies that are acting up and continue to leave the issue for another day. With the rare exceptional Autumn weather calling for outside work, afraid it will be left for another day.

73

Steve
K9ZW

In the Park – A Quiet Field Day 2012 26 - June - 2012

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Operations.
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Field Day 2012 was a quick, quiet and quite effective event.

With the W9DK Mancorad Radio Club in a local park.

The spot we had scouted out, AND its backup were both full of people. Unexpected, but hey – isn’t that what Field Day is supposed to be about?

We found a new spot that worked out just fine.

I had brought my Go-Kit primary antenna setup – a Hamstick Dipole which I have very carefully tuned using a Timewave AmtennaSmith TZ-900 to balance between the sides of the dipole.

K9ZW Hamstick Dipole in Action

K9ZW Hamstick Dipole in Action

Getting the antenna in the air is some of my supply of US Army surplus camouflage support poles – usually I use five to seven poles for an effective height of 15 to 21 feet. (Not the lamp post is much further away than it shows in the photograph).

I use a Black & Decker Workmate portable workbench as the antenna mast base, using clamps to lock everything together. When i operate alone I set up directly on the bend, and put my heavy aircraft batteries on the lower shelf to add stability. For Field Day we set up on a park picnic bench 40 feet away.

An extra clamp on one of the mast sections works ok as a rotor of sort. This “Armstrong Rotor” is not precision, but we are swinging a dipole, not a beam.

I did bring a new to me used TenTec Jupiter setup, though never got it out as we used one o fthe club radios – a Kenwood TS-440 that does an excellent job.

Interesting experiment was the huge drop in noise level when we added basic station grounding.

All in all a good time, simple style of operation (we even paper logged our QSOs) and relaxing until I was called away to rescue a family member who was broken down on the Interstate south of town.

A great day in the Park!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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