Monthly Archives: December 2008

Into the New Year – With Varying Frequency

I would like to thank everyone who takes a moment now and then to read & comment to my postings. Hopefully something in them is useful, helps you out, or is at least an amusement.

Thank you!

Looking into 2009 With Varying Frequency will continue as my web exercise in sharing what others have been kind enough to share with me.

Expect more about the Flex-Radio Flex-5000A and other equipment changes in the K9ZW shack.

On request there will be a new more concise Hamcram series, as a step-by-step How-To for your group’s own Hamcram.

Looking forward to our new year!



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Internet Amateur Radio Linking and the Third Party Traffic Rules

How does Internet Amateur Radio Linking and the Third Party Rules play out?

Third Party Traffic for USA Licensees is prohibited under FCC 97.115 when the contacted country is not party to a Third Party Agreement.

A list of countries who we have Third Party Traffic agreements can be found at:

This list is most important for the countries NOT on it. Germany, France, Russia, Italy, Ireland and many others do not have Third Party agreements with us.

So are we legal is we handle internet traffic originating or terminating in a country without a Third Party Traffic Agreement, unless the traffic is exactly between ourself as the licensed Amateur and a Specific licensed Amateur operating the other end?

Perhaps looking at when the traffic is being transmitted via radio and when it is on the internet could be useful?

Since the message originates as a net message and usually travels at least some distance, if even mere feet, as an internet message at each end, could it be argued it is Internet Traffic that just happens to use an Amateur Radio link as part of its travels?

Seems a reasonable, if incomplete argument.  The glaring question is how do you claim it as Internet Traffic when the addressing structure and network design is known to use a licensed service?  The WinLink or DStar aspect really couldn’t be claimed as incidental when it is by design part of the system.

The push of technology will likely lead to a revisiting of Third Party Traffic rules, though presently one wonders if as a control operator would a person be legally on sounder ground to refuse any questionable traffic from or to countries without a Third Party Traffic Agreement?   



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Flitter Flitter, What’s the Worth of Twitter?

I’m slowing my Twitter “Tweets” and following of Twitter based on a difficult to use Signal/Noise Ratio.

As I posted:

K9ZW – – Started my adjusting of who I am following. Can’t bear anymore platform & train schedule reports from places far away or.. …. football game commentaries from games I am not interested in following. Just becasue we CAN does not mean we SHOULD or MUST.. …. share the minutia of our lives. Tell me about your radios, tell me about unique ideas, thoughts, perceptions. But …… BUT spare me the repeat of the the headline news and the drivel one’s spouse would fall alseep if you tried sharing it with them. ///Rant – off//// Basically refocusing the immediate access portions of my day to family, and tightly filtered interests. 73

Basically the few unique bits of information passed are overwhelmed by endless droning Tweets about microcosms of banality trying to add value to the mundane. [Sorry I must have been specially crabby when I wrote this – a simple translation would be “The few new tidbits that could mean something are crowded out by piles of junk posts” – Steve]

While our mundane moments are a great part of what defines us and our lives, they really don’t share well.

One very active Twittering Ham has a goal of posting 10,000 Tweet posts during the year.

If everyone of those Tweets takes but a second or two out of my attention, that is asking me as a Twitter Follower to give up 5-6 hours of accumulated time.

It’s simply not going to happen.

It might be one thing if even one our of a 30 or 40 Tweets had an Original amateur radio content.

The biggest shortcoming of Twitter is the lack of filtering.

That combined with the system acting by design like a bunch of great big “party lines” means that very very little traffic is of interest.

I expect I will Tweet by Twitter at Dayton if I attend, but otherwise I intend to check Twitter perhaps a few times a week and post even less, unless in reply.



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Added 6m Amp to the Shack – Lou W1QJ King QRO Conversions

Just delivered to the K9ZW shack is one of Lou W1QJ’s 6 meter QRO Conversion Amps.

Starting as a Heath SB-220 this HF Amp has been extensively modified to add the Amateur 6 meter band.

Hi Steve, ….., I have one more order to fill before I get around to converting an Sb-220 for you. But, you will be next in line. Now lets talk about color. For the most part I keep the amp it’s original colors. When I say I “repaint” I mean that if the outer cabinet needs refinishing, I repaint it so it looks new. I use paint I had professionally mixed to match the original color. I do not repaint the front panel, but I do customize it. The color remains the same. I could always paint the outer cover black for you, but I doubt it would look good with the green front panel. The outer cover color goes well with the green face. I try not to get too involved with painting etc. which is not my expertise. Basically what I “sell” is power on 6 meters. I customize the front panel so it indicates it is a 6 meter amplifier to set it apart from the “run of the mill” HF SB-220. I try to concentrate my efforts on building a good solid powerful 6 meter amp at a reasonable price, doing what I do to the outer cabinet and face plate fits into the price. If I did much more painting etc. I could not keep the price down. I have offered to leave the SB-220 looking stock, but everyone likes the customized version so it identifies itself as a 6 meter amp. As a result I do this treatment to all of the amps. …..

Thanks 73 Lou W1QJ

Should have this amp up and running over the holidays, now that it has arrived.

More to follow!



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When Print Editions Go Away – World Radio & PC Magazine

Two of the publications I read monthly have decided to pull the plug on their print editions, and will be “publishing” on-line only.

Each has handled the transition differently.

World Radio has sold to CQ Magazine, is stopping Print Publication in favor of a Free Webzine Version, and is transferring the value of one’s paid-ahead subscription into CQ Magazine print subscriptions (or other items of value).

PC Magazine has not been sold, but is stopping Print Publication in favor of a Fee-Based Paid Subscription Webzine Version, and is transferring the value of one’s paid-ahead subscription into Paid Subscription Webzine Version subscriptions , with an option to get a refund (which also means loosing the reader).

Two poor implementations of  mistaken strategies.

In the case of World Radio, it was on my reading list because – it had a human angle to it, it was a “reader’s newspaper” magazine, rather than an arts & crafts graphic designer’s folly, it was timely, portable, and fun.  

In the case of PC Magazine it was on my reading list because it was topical, inexpensive, had some gems in between the marketing drivel, my kids enjoyed reading it after I was done and it was, well “fun.”

Unless I am an anomaly , it is never the web where I turn to read lengthy articles.

A Webzine is less portable to the places I end up doing magazine reading – between appointments in some waiting room, traveling, in my ham shack while monitoring the bands, at the lake or on the Island where Internet is often unavailable or simply having a quick read before putting one’s head down to sleep.

World Radio does have one thing right – they recognize that they cannot successfully levy a fee to read their new Webzine.

PC Magazine is gambling that they can levy user fees.  

I know in my personal case I have let my World Radio Subscription meld into extending my CQ Magazine subscription and in the case of PC Magazine I have told them to send me a refund.

Things change, that is certain, and media products will change formats.  They also will fade away if they get it wrong.



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Winter Reads – 2008-2009 – Batch I

Just a quick update on books read so far during this nasty early winter:

  • Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen
  • Patriots – Surviving the Coming Collapse, by James Wesley Rawles
  • The Unthinkable – Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – And Why, by Amanda Ripley
  • Celsius 7/7, by Michael Gove
  • The Blacksmith’s Craft – A Primer of Tools and Methods, by Charles McRaven
  • Leaving the Left, by Keith Thompson
  • The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science
  • The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades
  • Rocket Mass Heaters – Superefficient Woodstoves You Can Build, by Ianto Evans & Leslie Jackson
  • Flirting with Disaster: Why Accidents Are Rarely Accidental, by Marc Gerstein & Michael Ellsberg
  • Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, by Ori Brafman & Rom Brafman

I usually try and read a book-a-week, but looks like the hard start to winter has let me do a bit of catching up after a weak autumn read.

Let me know if you want information on a specific title, as unless it is Amateur Radio focused they won’t be reviewed here.

73 & Happy Reading


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