FlexRadio 4o3a TGXL Tuner Genius Has Arrived! (Unboxing)

UPS delivered a long awaited addition to the K9ZW ham shack, arriving of course on the only day I was out of town.

I removed what I thought was the inner box from the big generic shipping box filled with packing beans, a box that UPS had roughed up a bit in transit. Final unboxing was deferred to Saturday June 19th 20201 as I wanted to put this tuner into use for some weekend work.

First a few unboxing photos:

Outer Box of the 4o3a packaging

Opened – inner box, quick start notes and of course more packing beans

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Is Ham Radio going PC/SJW?

Recently I noticed email signature blocks (I’ve edited these to depersonalize and remove companies from them) that had an extra pronoun line I didn’t understand:

[Name]
She/Her/Hers
Senior [function] Engineer
[Company Name]

and

[Name]
He/Him/His
[function] Engineer
[Company Name]

Started seeing this a while back and now the practice seems to be spreading.

Since I am a bit oblivious to what this She/Her/Hers and He/Him/His stuff is all about, it was time for some reading and research.

Seems that Political Correctness (PC) and Social Justice Warrior (SJW) norms are expecting young people to lay out their sexually preferences in every communication!

Weird and one asks “Why?”

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Thinking Ahead – When to Put Your Radios Away in preparation for Troubled Times

Another in the Thinking Ahead series started with https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/im-a-ham-or-am-i/

Considering “When to Put Your Radios Away in preparation for Troubled Times” one has to recognize that it is the nail standing proud that gets the next hammer blow.

If the situation is such that being on the air can cause trouble for you, it is time to put your radios away.

RDF (Radio Direction Finding) is a mature technology that will pin point your transmitter in situations where their are consequences for being on the air.  The military had Ground Surveillance Radar operators (GSR) who basically had a radar strapped to their chest to look for the enemy.  Well the enemy figured out how to ID the GSR operator and shoot them.  It was said that in the Vietnam War a GSR operator battle lifespan was measured in a few days.

So (surviving) GSR operators learned to displace themselves from their antenna, which seemed to work for a while, until the enemy got wise to the ruse.

RDF of receivers is also a reality.  In countries with TV license taxes their governments include the use of RDF in how they track down unlicensed TV receivers.  The way this work is receivers do emit coherent energy, which can be sensed.
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Non-Radio: New 2-Wheel Ride – Harley Davidson Pan America Special

Took delivery of a new Harley Davidson Pan America Special. The local dealership got one as their “demo bike” and I bought it before it hit the sales floor.

Break-in started. First 50 miles are low revs (5000 cap), avoiding steady at one setting, and basically a “low stress” hour or so to let all the parts “get to know each other” as they say.

Dealer dropped the bike off yesterday during the work day, so I did the low rev part of the break-in after work.

Wisconsin is at a fine time of year for a quiet ride on backroads. More tractors on the road than cars. The break-in low speed seemed in itself prudent with the young spotted fawns with their mothers in attendance out crossing roads.
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What goes into a SmartSDR Software Update?

Those of us running SmartSDR and using the SmartLink functionality will be aware that 3rd party changes broke some of that functionality several week back.

Unexpected and it broke things hard if you were using SmartLink.  

FlexRadio Systems was all over the problem, running numerous Alpha releases to their testers as quickly as they could to get functionality restored. That resulted in new releases that worked with everything except the M-model faceplate and Maestro controllers (I think it remained a WAN SmartLink issue).

Relentlessly chasing the issues to make the update uniform across the whole spectrum of SmartSDR hardware, FRS continued to release Alpha updates to the Alpha Test Team until they got the M-model/Maestro update ready.
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A bit of Island (WI-001L) Operations

Been out operating FT8 from our Washington Island (Wisconsin) QTH. Antenna is a DX Engineering Hexbeam at 6 ft (yes just six feet).

“Armstrong rotator” to manually point the antenna the way I’d like it, Flex-6700 running barefoot, controlled by the little HP EliteDesk computer with the latest SmartSDR 3.2.39 software release.

I am cleaning the basement radio room, so FT8 is kind of nice as I only have to poke at the keyboard here and there. That lets me get some cleaning done at the same time as doing QSOs.

During 2020 we were seldom at our Island QTH – most just visited to do chores and left once the chores were complete.

This year we are hoping for a bit more “island time” in the mix. Having a son doing his remote grad school work from our main QTH makes leaving that QTH behind easier. If something needs rebooting he is all over it for us.

Station upgrades are in the works, with some serious antenna improvements a priority.

73

Steve
K9ZW