Monthly Archives: June 2010

Simple Thoughts on a Complex Mess – LoTW, Run or Drop?

Tonight I received an ARRL email that my K9ZW LoTW (Logbook of the World) certificate is expiring in three weeks, and if I just followed some simple instructions it would all be easy.

Rubbish – twenty minutes later I’m still in the midst of dealing with the quirks of LoTW arcane .tq6 and .p12 file mysteries and the issues of upgrading my computer hardware several times during the three years this certificate existed.

I can renew a credit card in moments online, or I can file in all sorts of truly mission-critical online government data (like with the FAA & FCC licensing branches) in moments – BUT to do deal with LoTW is long winded, convoluted, sensitive to hardware (wonder what would happen if I was running a VM sandbox – say Parallels or BootCamp – and then tried to run the Windows version of LoTW in that ethereal environment?).

I’m going to revisit LoTW in a couple days – perhaps the Certificate Gremlins will let my software work and I might be a better mood – but I am thinking it is time for this Life ARRL Member to make a LoTW statement and just pack in a LoTW.

Computer time is measured in not only “clock time” but in “cost/benefit time.” The first is our usual measure of passage of time, and the second a revisit of that time weighted in what benefit/pleasure we get for our time investment balanced against the costs to do the activity (dollars, technical costs and the time used itself).

LoTW is a failure for me in “cost/benefit time.” It simple is to fussy and a time-eater with so little payback for my personal participation in the hobby.

Maybe my experience is untypical – given that I use several computers on several platforms and update them very regularly – but when doing on-line banking is easy compared to a QSL logging system, that QSL logging system is too flawed to waste time upon.

More in a couple days.



Tagged , , , , ,

Hilberling PT-8000 – On? Off? or Maybe?

Hilberling 2010 Show Announcement

Hilberling 2010 Show Announcement

What is the status of the Hilberling PT-8000 Transceiver? Seems a resounding, umm…. maybe…..

Hilberling and TELEFUNKEN had announced a joint venture to bring the PT-8000 fully to market. Word in from a radio friend and corresponpondent at the Friedrichshafen Radio Show is:

Hello Steve,

while visiting Ham Radio in Friedrichshafen today, I went to the Hilberling booth. The cooperation with Telefunken Racoms is definitely off – the sales engineer was visibly displeased with my question :-)

I asked about the status of the transceiver. The reply was “you can order today, first units will ship in 4 months”. Manufacturing will be done by Hilberling, the sales engineer said that it was planned to involve Telefunken Racoms only in marketing otherwise (I had heard otherwise).

73 from sunny [Germany]

So again the radio is “almost ready” and the marketing partnership to bring it to market is in flux.

Here is the latest Hilberling cut sheet on the radio:

Hilberling 2010 Sales Sheet

Hilberling 2010 Sales Sheet

More when we learn it!



Tagged , , ,

Cornbread Road – Jeff KE9V’s work – a different kind of ham radio podcast…


This Podcast Series has gone commercial as of a Sept. 13th 2010 Announcement:

….weeks ago I was contacted by a publisher who was interested in purchasing the rights to the Cornbread Road story. During this brief negotiation, I halted uploading new episodes of the audio program. This weekend I agreed to sell the story and have pulled the podcast from the site. I apologize to those who have become regular listeners but this was a unique situation and opportunity. Cornbread Road – the book – will be available in softcover and as an audio book ( sometime in 2011……

Our Radio Friend Jeff KE9V has started a new Podcast Series. Jeff KE9V is a master story teller, and while I won’t pretend that Jeff doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with my take on things like politics or economics, I can tell you he is simply a master at spinning a yarn.

Today he launched his premier Podcast Episode of “Cornbread Row” leaving me already hooked.

Download and sit back, maybe with one of Jeff’s “Honkin’ Great Cups of Heartland Coffee” and enjoy!

Recommended for friends, as they say!



Deep in the Heartland a small group of ham radio enthusiasts enjoy an idyllic existence of wide open spaces, no antenna restrictions, low-noise levels, simple living, and good fellowship. But things aren’t exactly as they seem. Unexplained lights in the night sky, radio signals masked from the ether, strange late night visitors to this small farming community…


Tagged , , , ,

A Day Out to WI-001L with WI9DX/W9DK Clubs

Yesterday June 19th 2010 seven Mancorad W9DK Club members traveled to Washington Island, Wisconsin – US Island WI-001L – to visit and operate from George W9EVT’s Mega-Hamshack as part of the WI9DX Washington Island DX Club.

A 5:45am departure took us to a 8am Northport departure (first of the day this time of year) on the Washington Island Ferry Line’s ferry boat the “Washington” to the Island. Thirty minutes later we were on-island and quickly having to remember to wave to every passing car, a wonderful Washington Island tradition!

After dropping most of the team at the Red Cup Coffee & Cafe ( reviews ) young Victor KC9NWB was dropped off at an Island based buddy’s home where he is spending much of the week. The Red Cup was outstanding as usual, and it was a real pleasure to drink carefully crafted coffee outside in such a pleasant place!

Not wanting to arrive at the W9EVT Hamshack too early, we made the next stop the “Stavkirke” wooden chapel. Click on the link for pictures, but this is one my favorite churches, and over the years we’ve attended services and performances several times in the building. Photo session and donations done, it was off to Schoolhouse Beach.

Unlike the photos on the tourist website linked, I was the only one who waded into the still very cold water.

Next stop was the W9EVT hamshack at Greengate Farm.

I will cover the Hamshack in another post, once we’ve pictures uploaded. Doesn’t seem smart to write “wow” several hundred times over & over to allow for a single “wow” for each radio in the shack!!!

Alison KC9MPL and Miki KC9NVZ made a ladies side trip to Siever’s School of Fiber Arts while the Hamshack tour continued.

Lunch was had a Nelsen’s Hall, a bar & hall that even the prohibition couldn’t legally close!

We were joined by Susan & George’s daughter Amy, who is home on vacation from a teaching assignment in The Federated States of Micronesia in the Pacific (yes V63-land for us DX fans!), and the Board of Directors of the Thorstein Veblen Historic Cottage preservation project, part of the Island Heritage Conservancy. John Moore and Jerry Maiers both made time in their busy day to meet to discuss my firm’s contribution of roofing materials to the project. The Green Bay Press Gazette did a nice Veblen Cabin Article covering much of the project.

Before we finished lunch, several of us joined the Nelsen’s Hall Bitters Club, by drinking a shot of Angostura Bitters. Most of the group didn’t, and it is a level argument who was smarter!

While I had made a number of 6 meter QSOs during the morning tour using my own call, the remaining chunk of time in the afternoon was spent working under the WI9DX Club call sign, and mostly on 20m at 14.180

I “primed the well” checking for clear frequency and getting the QSO’s started before turning over affairs to Rich KC9LOA and Tim N7TAL – who did a great job learning what it is like to be at the receiving side of a mini-pile up.

Winston KC9FVR did diagnostics and worked with George W9EVT to sort out network & internet issues, and fixed a configuration issue on George’s MacBook Pro that had started interfering with email & connectivity.

Alas it was time to leave to catch the last ferry for the day off the island, and after thank you & good byes, we made way to the 5 pm ferry, pausing only to pick up a Blue Berry pie.

Once back on the mainland, we made our way part way down the Door Peninsula for our featured diner stop – Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant. The roof top goats were out and we had an excellent waiter of Transylvanian extraction who took a moment to tell us of the Siebenburgen (seven forts or castles) of the region. Al Johnson passed on this month at 84, and there were very touching memorial leaflets and posters up as a tribute. I’m going to admit to evening my day with breakfast, as Swedish Pancakes with Lingonberry Preserves & Swedish Meatballs are enough of a treat to have breakfast in the evening!

We had a great ride back to Manitowoc, listening to podcasts & big band music from a band I play in, and even though I cruised past an exit (wrong lane – duh) we were back & home by 9:30 pm.

Pictures to follow later this week and if you were one of our QSOs WI9DX QSLs for the day can go to the W9DK address (good on QRZ) and my K9ZW are fine direct.



Tagged , , , , ,

Thinking Mobile HF

With all the life changes the likelihood of more road time during which I might be able to do HF contacts is here!

Now the big decision – to do an HF Install or to do a “Virtual HF Over Internet Link” to my home station?

On the plus of a real install is that the contacts really count as mobile, and operations are independent of the net or home shack. These types of installations are not inexpensive and on a miles basis I am within 18 months of a new vehicle – meaning the install would be pulled & moved fairly quickly.

The idea of an over-the-internet link to my SDR setup has the advantages of lower initial costs, making use of a decent home station and little hardware to purchase. It would also be VERY portable and easy to move to the next vehicle. On the flip side it would require a monthly net subscription, isn’t true Mobile operations and requires me to leave my home station “hot” to operate. It is also net coverage dependent.

I’m still thinking through this one and welcome your thoughts.



Tagged ,

Couple Day Hiatus

Just a quick note that “With Varying Frequency” is on a couple day hiatus. I’m short on time to finish up and release draft articles for a very good reason – promotion.

Should have things settled back down shortly and will get postings restarted.

Thank you for bearing with me while I am “uber-busy!”



Tagged ,