Monthly Archives: January 2013

Is that Dayton on the Horizon?

Looking ahead fifteen weeks, Dayton 2013 is coming around.

Always makes sense when travel a fair distance to get one’s ducks lined up early, so reservations are being made.

Working to ballance a couple events our small group would like to attend – the the FlexRadio Dinner, the Collins Collector Dinner and one of the Contest or DX Dinners.

I make this one of two anual events where I meet up with the eldest of thre three family branches, so that is truly a highlight to look forward for.

This year George W9EVT is panning to be my navigator for Dayton 2013.  Doing Dayton with George W9EVT is real pleasure as he knows and is friends with so many interesting hams – the wort that are doing neat things.

I’ve also invited my youngest son, Vic KC9NWB to come along.  He will have to decide if he can cut some classes to make Dayton.

Links for this year are:

The Dayton Hamvention Website:
The DX Dinner Webpage:
The Collins Collectors Group Website:
FlexRadio Systems Website:
The Contest Dinner Website:

Hope to see you there!



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Logical Fallacies in the Ham Community


Recently have had two cases of really poor logic in the Amateur Radio community come my attention.


The first involves the ongoing troll-fest at the eHam forums – in this case the result is wild derogatory claims by a leading eHam troll where he claims his web searches didn’t disclose a FCC registration for a product, with his conclusion being what he assumed was a null search affirming his contention that the product was unregistered and not in compliance with FCC rules.

What he actually was looking for never exists, so drawing any conclusion from an “Absence of Evidence” in wrong. There was no “null finding” that would make the inductive leap to an “Evidence of Absence.”

The logic is so twisted as to be hard to categorize, but basically calls into the “Absence of Evidence” equals “Evidence of Absence” fallacy.

What this means is just because self-appointed Ham “S” can’t find something documented, that he is logically incorrect to claim that this absence establishes his premise.

Appropriately this flawed deduction is called an “argument from ignorance” (in Latin: ad ignorantium).

This is an assertion which states that, because there is no evidence to support a given argument, the opposite must be true.


The second case is spin out from the eHam troll-fest where Ham “C” is claiming because Ham “C” cannot find the documentation that Ham “D” is unauthorized to display certain overseas government ribbons or make reference to any TAD/TDY duty on his QSL cards!

Really – this recent Army retiree has the gonads to claim because he can’t find it in the records (he did request Ham “D’s” releasable information from the military, which is a redacted summary of the outside of his personnel file jacket sans any TAD/TDY or foreign government information), that there is no way Ham “D” could be a combat vet or have received a foreign award.

Again the same mistake – an “argument from ignorance” (ad ignorantium) – where the “Absence of Evidence” is assumed to establish the “Evidence of Absence.”

Are the records Ham “C” searched are never inclusive of the results he would apparently like to establish a “null result” for, he also cannot make the jump from “Absence of Evidence” in any way establishing any “Evidence of Absence.”

Oh should we add the items this self-appointed Judge Dredd is complaining about are depictions and cryptic references on the Ham “D’s” eQSL card, are low-level (no Medal of Honor, Bronze Star or such, just a foreign south east Asian governments hand-me-out award and the noting of a TAD/TDY assignment off on ship to another).  No appearances on a uniform, no claims of privilege – but also no backing down when falsely challenged either.


Still with me? Head hurting yet?

It has been a long time here since university and professional reasearch/evidence collection training that covered this territory.

Let’s try to simplify this:

Premise is that Ham “X” is a pacifist.
Search by Ham “Y” fails to find any NRA memberships, any participation in shooting forums, ditto knife/sword forums, no club memberships, no political affiliations, no quotes my Ham “X” or writings by Ham “X”, or any other sign that that Ham “X holds an aggressive viewpoint.

So Ham “Y” announces, I’ve search and have found nothing about Ham “X” showing aggression – nothing contrary to aggression – actually really about nothing at all about Ham “X so therefore I label Ham “X” as a pacifist.

Hoping you can see the flawed leap – not finding something is not the same thing as establishing the opposite as a fact.

In my made up Ham “X” and “Y” story I’ll add a twist – Ham “X” is a vet, who writes how-to articles for Body Guards and Muscle for Hire, but under a pen-name. Ham “Y” never knew of nor search the pen-name. Ham “X” always travels armed with body guards, and has been known by intell groups to be the man behind several coups in third world countries, but all that information is classified and not available to Ham “Y.”

Or perhaps as an alternative – Ham “X” is a lay member of a secret religious group that follows peaceful ideas but never publishes membership lists, and uses an oral tradition to pass on pacifist values. Ham “Y” never know about the membership and wouldn’t have been able to confirm membership even if tipped off.

Point is – Ham “Y’s” inconclusive research in and of itself cannot establish anything to do with Ham “X’s” political leanings.

I have in my hands examples of a full US Military file which does not contain all TDY, secondments, authorized awards nor any mention of foreign government awards.  Rather doubt this file is unique.

Doesn’t seem to make any difference that examples of this abound, as unfortunately we have self-empowered fellow hams (and fellow vets) who take it upon themselves to make claims of “Stolen Valor” about other veteran ham’s based on poor research and drawing false conclusions from their poor research.  Shame on these self-appointed Don Quixote characters.

It is only conjecture, and an observation, but our hobby seems too often to have members who neither use best logical deduction nor avoid the emotional personal bias that causes them to fall prey to logical fallacies.

We can do better and we owe it to each other so to do.

Thank You Military



Social Commentary – How my License saves me from my Pirate Transceiver’s dark side


I have a fairly powerful radio station – An SDR Radio that in theory can be made to do about anything with the right programing, a powerful HF amplifier, decent antennas and all the stuff to make up a simply ace Pirate Station.

I’ve some backup transmitters/transceivers and amplifiers that also certainly will do the Pirate Station trick.

A bit of tweaking of the knobs and software, feed in canned music & commentary, and my station could be Pirating.

Those transmitters/transceivers and amplifiers are simply ready to break the law.

Yet they never do.


Because having all the characteristics and technical performance to go Pirate – all the physical parts to be a Pirate the station never goes Pirate.

I mean they have all the capability – All the Stuff is there.

Why do they never go Pirate?

Must be that FCC license – is it that slip of paper framed on the wall that does it?

No doubt about, the gear has potential Pirate all over it.

So why doesn’t it go Pirate?

Why don’t I have a shudder each time I look at it?

Why isn’t the government fanning public opinion of non-hams to restrict these “Pirate Tools?”

What about those renegade hams who have the huge ex-radio station transmitters?

Where is the call to register them with the state, the demand that non-authorized frequencies/power-settings be locked-out and maybe even background checks?

Ok, by now you have a clear idea where I am going – we don’t worry about the hardware, as it is the operator of the equipment who would be the Pirate, not the equipment.

Socially we’ve kept the distinction between criminal actions and the criminal’s tools of Pirating in terms of radios.

We’ve somehow let the media and government introduce a hysteria over another of my hobby interests – shooting and firearms – that lacks the same common sense separation of inanimate objects and active criminal.

As an outdoorsman and shooting sports enthusiast I have no fear of my sporting clays gun when I open my safe. It isn’t going to jump out and get me!

Nor is my my AR-15 – which BTW I bought from a Police Office when he decided to upgrade – going to jump out and do me any harm!

Or that Nine Millimeter Pistol – which I use to shoot with the local Deputies at their range – any threat to me.

Now I (ME) could be threat, if I violated gun safety rules.

Over the Holidays I watch some of the Star Wars movies again. Since then I’ve seen a great poster where the difference between evil and inanimate objects is succinctly put “No one ever blames the Lightsaber!”

Socially we need to focus on the cause of gun violence, that is the criminals – and leave Joe Citizen and his property alone.




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Sixth year of “With Varying Frequency – Amateur Radio Ponderings”

WordPress Anniversary Badge

WordPress Anniversary Badge

Got a nice notice from WordPress that I’d entered in my sixth year writing this blog.

About 1400 posts have accumulated, with about the same number of comments.

This isn’t a high traffic blog – about 300-500 readers a day – mostly it has been suggested due to my writing style not being as smooth and slick as some, and using too many polysyllabic words at times.

Modest self-promotion also limits the exposure.

It is interesting that some of “how-to” articles posted have steady hits day after day, which is rewarding to know that people find these articles and hopefully find them useful.

Thanking each and every one of you reading “With Varying Frequency – Amateur Radio Ponderings” for your sticking with me, offering your comments, and sharing links to what I’ve posted.

Here is to the next five years! Cheers!!



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Thoughts towards a better Amateur Radio Forum

It seems there is a huge void in the Amateur Radio internet world.

I’ve not able to figure out why the anti-Flex trolls are allowed to run unfettered at eHam.

I moderate a music list (on the uncommon Bass Saxophone) and even have some very well known figures on ‘moderated posts’ because they have a history of others seeing their posts as hot-head moments.

Yet eHam rewards these their trolls, almost cultivating them as star attractions. Why?

Where eHam succeeds is:

– little alternative (for whatever reason otr Amateur Radio forums have’t taken off)
– they make their money by “clicks” so the controversial gains them clicks
– low costs (wondering if the moderators are volunteers, and they definately have little oversight)
– great domain name
– loyal advertisers

Where eHam fails is:

– biased sample issues (Trolls pileing on is one example)
– lack of concern for accuracy, utility, facts or integrity
– never dealing with their chronic trolls
– not fact checking
– allowing unverified non-callsign user names (some trolls seem to control several user names as well)

I’m thinking until their revenue stream is in danger eHam won’t grow up.

When the ad revenue drops they might change.

More likely is someone else will take their place.

The QRZ Forums tend to be a bit better but a clinging to a very old feeling PHP BBS design.

They are also organized in a more difficult to use thread tree.

There are few other internet forums – the Trolls and Moderator Heavy Hand issue is unfortunately far to common among them. A couple of the shooting and preparedness forums that have reasonably sized amateur radio threads suffer from the same trolls, poor moderation, group-think and cultivated bias issues that plague so many forums. A couple have outright offensive moderators and owners – and are best given a wide birth.

Is there room for a new Amateur Radio Forum?

How would you go about it?

Can it be self supporting either via ads, subscriptions, grants or sponsorship?

Would appreciate your kind comments!



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Flex-6000 Series – Little Bits of News – Payment Schedules, Computers, Digital Modes, Videos

First a thanks to Tim W4TME, as he super quickly responded to series of emailed questions.

I was very candid and asked FlexRadio Systems’s Tim W4TME permission to share the information from his answers, so I am not sharing anything that you wouldn’t receive as a reply if you asked FlexRadio Systems.

One of my concerns has been how long will we have to get the rest of our payment together when the radios are released?

It always seems life has a way of “piling on” expenses when they are the least welcomed. Whether it is something we know is coming, like tax payments, or those special financial adventures like needing to replace a car. Just always seems to work out like that.

The question I asked was – How much advance notification will those of us with deposits on the new Flex-6000 series radios receive before payment and shipment? I don’t need an ETA but rather would like to know that the intention is to annouce ETAs x-number of weeks before payment and shipment would happen.

Tim shares: “The plan is to notify you about two weeks before the scheduled ship date and would expect payment by that time.

That seems workable here. Guess I had this worry of a email or call giving less time. Of course I would imagine some of us will swipe a card and settle with our credit card company perhaps spread over a month or two.

Then I asked about computers for the new SmartSDR, as I am thinking of upgrading and wouldn’t want to but something that couldn’t be used.

My question was – On the technical side has a minimal computer spec become available? I’ve held off doing some upgrading to make sure I wasn’t caught out, but it is getting time to replace my station PC.

From Tim “On the computer side of things, for SmartSDR for Windows, we are recommending at least a dual core CPU. The amount of RAM depends on the bit-depth of the operating systems; 4 MB for 32-bit / 8GB for 64-bit. What is most important is having a video adapter that is capable of graphics hardware acceleration. Here is a HelpDesk article that sums up the requirements:”

I also asked about digital modes & software – that discussion doesn’t lend itself as well to cut and paste, and is best summarized with Tim’s comment

Per Tim’s email “Initially, digital modes will still need to use external programs. There are some *very* preliminary discussions regarding integrating digital modes into SmartSDR, but nothing has been decided.”

Tim also mentioned that FlexRadio Systems plans to release more videos of SmartSDR in action in the near future.

I want to be clear I have no special link into FlexRadio Systems, I just ask questions straight up and ask permission on what I can share so I am 100% clear what is ok to tell others.

Tim wrote “You can share “

I think it is crucial to be 100% candid when asking for information if one wants to share that information – you need to be upfront. Ethically it is crucial.

So in summary:

  • If you have a Flex-6000 Signature Series on order with an introductory program deposit in place, expect a two-week head’s up when your radio is ready to ship in which to make payment.
  • The SmartSDR Computer needs are modest and the Knowledge Base already has a guide. Pay attention to the graphics card needs though.
  • Initially expect to use your usual Digital Mode Software with SmartSDR – details on how and future options to follow.
  • FlexRadio Systems is planning more SmartSDR videos to be released.

All seems <<very>> satisfactory and with my interest piqued I am enjoying the anticipation!



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