Monthly Archives: February 2013

2012 CQ WW DX SSB – K9ZW’s Log Analysis Report (now this is cool reporting!)

Just received an email with links to my log analysis for the 2012 CQ WW DX SSB Contest. I did get four hours on during the contest in October:

The report provided is an amazing analysis and the CQ WW DX team has really provided some useful feedback.

In my case a few errors cost me nearly one out of five points claimed.

The summary is:

153 Claimed QSO before checking (does not include duplicates)
144 Final QSO after checking reductions

398 Claimed QSO points
330 Final QSO points

84 Claimed countries
81 Final countries

42 Claimed zones
42 Final zones

126 Claimed mults
123 Final mults

50148 Claimed score
40590 Final score

19.1% Score reduction

4 (2.6%) calls copied incorrectly
0 (0.0%) exchanges copied incorrectly
0 (0.0%) band change violations
5 (3.3%) not in log
0 (0.0%) duplicates (Removed without penalty
0 (0.0%) calls unique to this log only (not removed)

Here is a link to a pdf of the entire report analyzing my submitted log: 2012 CQ WWDX K9ZW Log Analysis Report

Even in my casual style of operations for this last CQ WW DX SSB Contest I could have improved if I was certain my call was logged by the other station correctly and if I was a bit more careful in my logging.

Really appreciate the fine analysis!



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HamRadioNow does an SDR Segment with FlexRadio Systems

Video Page Link HamRadioNOW SDR with FlexRadio Systems Main Page


Direct Video Link HamRadioNOW SDR with FlexRadio Systems Segment

What is SDR?

And why do I care?

FLEXRadio has been building SDR Amateur radios for 10 years (happy anniversary!).

And they’ve been through some changes.

The biggest change happened between the 5000 series and the 6000 series of their radios.

And explaining that takes us through some basic concepts of what SDR is and what it does.

FLEXRadios’ Greg Jurrens takes Jeff & Gary on a trip from analog to the 6000’s level of SDR.

Not the most technical stuff – we don’t learn how to write code – but the basics of how it works and, maybe more importantly, what it can do for you.

Will have to wait until I have an hour to spare, but looks very good!



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Bob W9RAS does wonders for Heath SS-9000 with new Display

Bob W9RAS has solved one of the biggest usability-issues with the interesting Heath SS-9000 transceiver – how to get a new display when the original VFD gives out?

As announced at the Heath SS-9000 Yahoo Group (link ):

Yesterday well actually 2:30 AM this morning I finished the 3rd generation LED display for the SS9000 and it works GREAT !

About 3 weeks ago I noticed on Ebay some LED display chips with 3 digits in each chip and they were wired internally for a multiplex display. A nice thing about the AD on Ebay was they had a schematic of the chips right there so I could see they would work . The price was right so I ordered some on Ebay from China they arrived in a week .

Testing the LED chips showed them all to be OK . A piece of perf board was cut and the assembly was wired with #30 wire wrap wire soldering the connections with .015 dia. rosin core solder using the jewelers head band magnifier to see the tiny things. The 3.3 k pull down resistors were eliminated from the circuit when I found that the UDN6118 VFD driver chips had built in pull down resistors built in .

It took 4 sessions to complete the perf board wiring .The job was much easier than version #2 because of the three in one digit chips. Due to this the chips were narrower and there was plenty of room for a complete SS9000 display of 12 digits using 4 led chips and the 3.3 k resistors not being needed. The digits are .36 inch tall a little taller than the original VFD digits . The wiring was easier too with fewer jumper wires required . I have posted a video on youtube on this here is the address to it you may have to highlight it ,copy it and post it or just go to youtube and search for SS9000-7 .

The Russian made VFD tube was not tried in the SS9000 for the following reasons .

#1-It has many connections in different locations compared to the original VFD tube .

#2 the digits when tested on the bench were rather dim and not as good looking as the originals and

# 3 the evacuation tube or port on the back was in a different location requiring MAJOR modification to the original front panel board so it could be fit in there . So the tube from the Ukraine would be cool for another project but is not practical to use in the SS9000 .

I will post some pictures in the “photos” file to the left AND here is the web address to go to the video on the LED Display .


Outstanding work and Bob W9RAS has offered to walk me through building a replacement display. (I have one of George W9EVT’s Heath SS-9000 here to trouble shoot and see if I can get running.)

The display units are type “CP S03631BA” of which ebay currently has several auctions. is one example.



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K9ZW Computers in the Shack

Boy do I have a mess in the shack – several computers not very well coordinated due to a split vision and having been acquired over too much time.

My Flex-5000A with PowerSDR runs on a 4-5 year old Dell tower that really isn’t adequate. Some of my peeves with PowerSDR can be lain at the feet of a marginal computer. Dual core Windows-XP box with not really that much going for it, the highlight is having dual screens and the requisite Firewire port.

Elsewhere in the house I do all writing, and all my “home work” from work, on an early Aluminum MacBook. This is the smallest & slowest MacBook but is running the latest Mountain Lion.

For portable operations I retired a now defunct IBM Thinkpad and replaced it with a decent Windows XP-Pro larger Thinkpad. Nothing fancy but when a decent battery was added it is close to a portable version of the Dell Tower.

Retired, but lingering around are a MacMini (early series) that my youngest bloated the hard disk gaming and won’t run. Have been meaning to see if I can coax the machine back to life, at least enough to rescue pictures.

An older G5 iMac is around too – it was one that the power supply had the counterfeit capacitor issue, fixed under “quiet recall” and hasn’t really been used since.

Then my newest computer is running on my project’s desk – a Raspberry Pi. A neat little ARM based Linux computer, it has been running as a “burn-in” on the desk.

There are enough parts and licenses to put together a few wobbly generic PC’s with either Linux installs or using one of the Window’s Licenses if Microsoft will issue a key for replacement hardware.

Looking forward my wants and needs are:

  • Running PowerSDR for the Flex-5000A (Windows)
  • Running SmartSDR for the upcoming Flex-6000 (Windows)
  • Running EZNEC Antenna Modeling (Windows)
  • Running N4PY for the TenTec Pegasus and Jupiter (Windows)
  • Running MixW, JT65HF, DDUTIL, PowerMaster and similar station accessory programs (Windows)
  • Running the Bengali CW Software (Windows)
  • Running fldigi and related programs (Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux)
  • Running MacLoggerDX (Mac OSX)
  • Running CocoaModem (Mac OSX)
  • Running cocoaNEC (Mac OSX)
  • Running Sibelius Music Software (Windows or Max OSX)
  • Running Noteworthy Composer (Windows)
  • Running Scrivener (Complex Document Editing) Software (Windows or Mac OSX)
  • Full Word Processing Software – needs to exchange files with MS Word (Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux)
  • Full Spreadsheet Software – needs to exchange files with MS Excel (Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux)
  • Full Presentation Software – needs to exchange files with MS Powerpoint (Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux)
  • Service my iPod – (Windows or Mac OSX)
  • Downloading and Organizing my Photos (prefer Mac OSX)

Then after that I get into things I do occasionally, rather than regularly.

Really looks like two avenues of choice – an Apple iMac or MacPro with Bootcamp or Parallels to run Windows, or two separate machines with one Windows and one OSX basis (also perhaps running Bootcamp or Parallels as well.)

The new iMac really is a looker – and my Apple experience is much more positive than my Windows experience.

But then there are the Flex-5000A’s PowerSDR and Firewire needs.

Presently I am leaning to upgrading the shack’s Dell with a roll-you-own Windows-7 box AND replace the MacBook with an iMac running Parallels/Win-7.

The MacPro is pricy enough that it is not really justifiable for home use, but wow it would be sweet.

How would you set this up?



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Radio Club Thoughts – Making the Secretary and Treasurer Roles Simple

It has been a while since I was recruited to return to our local radio club first a Secretary and for the Last Year as Secretary/Treasurer.

Putting together systems to streamline minutes and reporting hasn’t been too hard.

Here are some of the things that seem to work well:

Having a Written Timeline:  Presently I am working on updating my Task Calendar to help anyone following me know when various events & tasks come due.  I’ve been through enough cycles now to have captured most events.

Getting Periodic Written Statements:  Previously we’d only had electronic banking, which meant a couple step process to print out teh backup documentation needed to be an effective treasurer.  Adding monthly paper statements mailed to us was an easy call.  Now it is a simple matter to reconcile against the bank’s ledger.

Use Templates:  I happen to use an Apple Mac with OS-X “Pages” software to do minutes and “Numbers” to do the financials.  I created and save “templates” that do 90% of the formatting every month.  Makes it pretty easy.

Email out PDF copies for Review with Deadlines:  To the officers I email a PDF for copy for their review and proof reading, including a “get back to me date” where Minutes get published and posted online and Financials are printed for discussion at the next meeting.  Use of a PDF puts the responsibility for any requested edits on my back, but also keeps version control well managed.  The comment by date takes a bit of cooperation and trust, but works well to keep things on track.

Use a Blog Format for Publishing Minutes, Announcements and News:  We chose WordPress for ours, and it makes it so simple to put things up for the membership.  Everyone knows where to look.

Handle on-off needs with one-off responses:  Some members simple forget to look at the club blog – so we offer a “subscribe to blog” feature and for a few who have asked I forward the WordPress announcement to their email addresses.  In the past we had a blind member involved, members who had dyslexia, and members who just didn’t do computers at all.  We had paper copies at the meetings and arranged for a volunteer reader for other cases.

Keep things together:  I’m only part way on this, as I was give a nice file box, but there were also file cabinets, missing files, and lots of loose papers.  When I am done it will be simplified and organized with a record copy in the club room files and all working documents in the take-away file box.

Record Retention, Back-Up and Purge Process:  I’m lucky to have access to a couple scanners and have emailing record copies of important documents to “the cloud.”  Eventual plan is to scan in the decades of old minutes into an electronic archive.  Would seem likely that the several file drawers and banker boxes of ancient records could be archived to a single small thumb drive.  When the legal requirement for retention has elapsed the paper copies mostly can go.

Streamline to Single Focus in Internet Presence:  In the past we had two websites (a regular site and the parallel blog), reflectors (email lists) on Yahoo Groups/Google+/Through Our Hosting and Through a Club Member’s Donated Server – and it was a huge mess.  We also had Facebook, Twitter and Google+ things going.  All this has been streamlined down to the WordPress Blog which will post to the social networking accounts when the blog is updated.

Forget About Trying to be Everything to Everybody:  Be all ears for suggestions, but consider whiney noise as a signal that the member is volunteering to participate.  We had members who want everything emailed to them, some who wanted paper copies mailed, some who were mad “how dare we spam them with emails” as they only wanted to look at the website – all different ideas and needs.  Well we just do it one way – posting to the blog, except for reaching out to those have an actual need for something different.

Do without Volunteers who are over-commited:  Don’t elect them, reelect them and don’t be afraid to negotiate a different role for their participation if they don’t have the time or  skill set.  Be sensitive to members who “have something come up” with their lives (health, family, work, unemployment, marriage, grief) that temporarily sidelines them.  Just get on with it and bypass them when they can’t fill their role.

Remember it is only a CLUB:  You can’t run a Fortune-500 company this way, and as long as everything remains transparent, compliant with laws, and honest, remember the goal is to make the “business stuff” of the club support the activities and fun of teh club membership.  Don’t make the mistake of putting the Fun second.

Everyone has their own style, but this seems to be working for me.



Pre-Release (Alpha) Flex-6700 Radio Demonstration at Hamcation 2013

Hamcation 2013 has seen the public display of the new Signature Series FlexRadio Systems Flex-6000

Reports are that the hardware was Flex-6700 but the GUI SmartSDR software was the Flex-6500, and the two did baluk a bit if you opened too many pan adapters at once.

The BIG NEWS is shipments will start April 2013!!



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