Monthly Archives: February 2017

Quick Flex and Stretch – Update and Testing the Flex-6700

My station (home) needed updates installed, as a series of life-events have limited my operating time over the last few weeks.

Quick and easy upgrade of SmartSDR to 1.10.16 followed by a brief on-air test mini-session.

A very kind 5/9+25dB from Masa JE1LET was rewarding after the upgrade. His startion was rocking into here as well.

Next was Chuck 8P9AL (KG9N) who turns out to be the brother-in-law of a well respected local insurance agent, Steve Ford.

Then caught Silas KL3ZJ from North Pole, Alaska. He has one nice QRZ page sharing pictures of his handsome young family and Alaska paradise. Great QSO too.

Here is a quick rundown of the current version of my home QTH station, microphone to antenna:

Microphone – Shure SM5B boom mounted
External Audio Processing/Phantom Power – Behringer
Transceiver – Flex-6700 running SmartSDR v 1.10.16
Amp – Alpha-9500
Metering – Alpha-4510
Tuner – Palstar AT-Auto (used in bypass today)
RF Switching – Array Solutions RatPAK-6N
Antenna – Tennadyne T-8 log periodic

Supporting gear:

Computer – i7 DXer’s Dream Machine by Neal Campbell
Running Software – K9DUR DDUTIL, FlexRadio Systems CAT & DAX, Hamradio Deluxe
Rotor – AlfaSpid RAK
Headset – Radiosport RS60CF
Foot PTT – Radiosport

Remoting Hardware/Software:

FlexRadio Systems Maestro
Pair of Raspberry PI set up Chris K6OZY style
SmartSDR for iOS on an iPhone 6-plus and iPad Air
DogparkSDR on a i7 iMac

Simple but effective station. Has great ears and can also reach out with a good signal.

While I’ve been typing on the iPad I’ve been running QSOs on the iPhone, though I forgot to charge my phone and am going to have to either tether the phone on a charger or shut down SmartSDR for iOS.



A Word About Writing this Amateur Radio Blog – Reflection at Ten Years

Amateur radio is really a lot of fun – “Huge Fun” to use the meme of these days.

Particularly rewarding is sharing what you have learned, done and are experimenting in your hobby pursuit with other hams.  Interesting a potential ham enough to get their license is a real thrill.

It was out of that desire to share-back and pay-forward that ten years ago I started this blog project. It was also an answer to a challenge when my children (all have their ham licenses as well) suggested I was “too old” to do a blog.

With the postings dropping down to months between them, it is mostly from a lack of feedback. Unlike the in-person helping of another ham, a blog post is less a two-way QSO and more a Broadcast.  And I hadn’t figured out how to access if what I wrote had a positive influence on anyone, as comments when left tend to be questions, complaints or clarifications, and the blog mechanism does tell me how many page views I’ve earned each day, but not so much about whether anything I’ve written has helped another soul better their enjoyment in our hobby.

I did a short run of more provocative articles, where I expressed my opinions on most ham radio topics, but the feedback was either from those synchronized with my thoughts or statements that I was “all wet” by those opposed. I don’t think I helped anyone learn a darn thing, and it was rare that any response was intellectual enough to make me think.  And it seemed like always someone was upset and simply tuned further posts out or stopped reading altogether.  Not such a good idea were these provocative posts.

On the lighter side I shared some Travelogue and Shack-Diary posts, but one grows tired of doing so for a number of reasons. The comments and emails were not supportive.  If I wrote of something I was lucky to experience or have to enjoy, the constant “it must be nice” sniping is a bore.  Since I started in this hobby I have put aside some money every month, and combined with taking good enough care of equipment that I can easily sell it as I upgrade I have parlayed the old Yaesu FT-101EE I bought from a pawn shop, with my homemade dipole into some fairly nice gear and station features.  That it was upgraded little by little over 27+ years of doing ham radio seems to escape the complainers.

So that writing again seemed to attract the upset who trolled before they disappeared.

I will share that the main reason I have a nice station, have over a lifetime of other activities now ride a nice motorcycle, can do some nice travel and can indulge my passion to read real paper copies of books is sticking at these activities and working at making a better ham station, faster/nicer motorcycle, targeting 6 or more trips a year and have read a lot of what interests me immediately on publication, is sticking to my hobbies. Sure a bit of reinvestment was needed, but mostly I needed to be active and have my ears opened for solid advice.

Enough of all that, I would guess if you are still reading you may be wondering where this bit of writing is going.

My intent for With Varying Frequency – Amateur Radio Ponderings is to return to writing what pleases me. I may even turn off comments – perhaps right away or maybe after a post is a couple weeks old.

With the radio posts I plan to weave in other posts that while they apply to the radio amateur the posts will have a wider application. Might be on good decision making, or about a great place to travel to that has a radio interest.  Hang around and see,