Monthly Archives: June 2018

Feeling out Antennas for K9ZW Island QTH – Part 2

A lot has been happening at the Island QTH in addition to the ongoing Garage Building project.

For quite a while I’ve been using a CrankIR Vertical or a DX Engineering Hexbeam at the Island QTH.

As it will be a couple months until a tower is up, I moved the Hexbeam from its 55-gallon barrel “tower” to an old satellite dish stand on the “utility side” of the property:

DX Engineering Hexbeam at Washington Island QTH

DX Engineering Hexbeam at Washington Island QTH

Not best location at maybe 6 ft elevation and still dependent on an “Armstrong Rotor” (Manual rotation) for directional control, but is the very quick time I was on the air it works just fine.

Report received were excellent, and even at this low height the receive sensitivity is noteworthy.

I was only on the air about an hour and made under two dozen contacts, as the weather was far too fine to be on the radio.

Wonder how I could add a mobile HF setup to my recumbent bike without adding 30 pounds of weight?  Hmm… that way I could do radio while being outside and active!

Back to reality, I had many chores I wanted to knock out this weekend, and Alison KC9MPL joined friends for some boating while I did weed & ant duty chores, snapping this photo of the Islands Bluffs (these are in the North East part of the island, we live on the North West coast which is different):

Washington Island Bluffs

Washington Island Bluffs

The tower on the bluff is used by one of the broadband providers (they offer their flavor of Motorola’s Canopy System).

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Feeling out Antennas for K9ZW Island QTH – Part 1

A lot has been happening at the Island QTH – the biggest is the ongoing Garage Building project.

Garage 16 June 2018

And just as importantly the first non-temporary antenna will be going in – a Zero-Five custom extra-heavy-duty Flagpole Multi-Band Vertical antenna.

The concrete base should go in at the same time the garage apron slab is poured.

Zero-Five made two extra-heavy-duty custom antennas to meet my wind/weather special needs. The have tilt-over-bases and a loading-balun for 80m.

Zero-Five Extra-Heavy-Duty Flagpole Multiband Antenna Tilt Base with Balun

One of the two Zero-Five made is reserved for my home QTH to be installed later this year or next spring. These antennas truly are also functioning flagpoles, though I wonder what might happen to a flag when running an amp?

The trenching contractor in the island is running a 4-inch buried conduit to the antenna, so I can both bury a feed-line, and run power to lights for the flag.  I may eventually experiment with a remote antenna tuner at the base of the antenna as well, and the conduit makes adding internet easier later.   Ideally it would be nice to separate the different cables, but as most trenching involved breaking out bedrock I will have to settle for a single conduit and go with the best shielded cables available.

To work well this model requires buried radials, and eventually lots of them.

Because of the bedrock the usual base has been redesigned to make best use of the “rock solid” situation.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Can you be Shadow Banned at eHam?

— Edit June 20th 2018 —

After a period of being locked out of the eHam Forums but able to access the main page as “logged in” it looks like my eHam user has been unlocked.  No idea if this was just a bad week at eHam or all of my various devices, or real “shadow banning” in action.

Interestingly I now find myself with next to nothing to share at eHam…

— End Edit —

 

Can a person end up Shadow Banned at eHam?

Shadow Banning is the unseen hand of a web forum’s owner making anyone they don’t like “disappear quietly” from their system.  More  definition at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_banning

Unlike overt Banning, where the participant is told to go away, and perhaps their account is locked, Shadow Banning is done covertly and if questioned is denied.

Has eHam taken up the practice of Shadow Banning?

Kind of seems so, as shortly after my critiques of eHam moderation my eHam account password for just the forums was changed, effectively blocking me from posting on the forums.

Password still works for the general website, but not the forums.  Actually it works for the main forum page, but locks me out when going to a specific forum.

Cute.

On the positive side several of the worst of eHam’s pet trolls seem to have gone quiet as well.

If my account is collateral damage in a stealth effort to better the level of participation, so be it.  Small price to pay.

Again without real effective moderation and careful curating eHam is not much more than click-bait for eager hams looking for quality information.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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FlexRadio Systems – Flex-6600 Heat Sink Replacement

I have one of the earliest Flex-6600M radios released, as I was added to the Alpha Test Team.

As such my expectations have been from delivery that this particular radio would be likely to need some updating along the way.

I have been running the radio 24/7 since delivery, and though no performance problems came up the Heat sinks on the ADC boards fell off or slid down (one fell and one slid).

Flex-6600M heat sinks, one fell and one slid. Easily replaced with new bigger heat sinks on the backside of the boards.

FlexRadio Systems had mailed a field repair kit and because I had no noticeable issues I put off installation until today.

Took me longer to gather my tools than do the job!

Basically you take the top of the radio off, remove a screw so you can pull each ADC board free, add the new heat sink while removing or securing the original heat sinks, reseat the ADC board, put the secure entry screws back, and put the top back on.

There are two heat sinks to deal with in the Flex-6600/6600M radios and just one heat sink in the Flex-6400/6400M models.

In my case I removed the original heat sinks completely, though some hams are securing them in place along with the new heat sink installation.

One wonders if there is a heat sink adhesive problem, as there are reports that some new Icom transceivers also have a heat sink problem. Not certain if those radios can be repaired in the field.

FlexRadio Systems released a PEN (Product Enhancement Notice) that covers the heat sinks and a preamp enhancement for 6m.  I’m holding off sending the radio in for the rest of this PEN.

BTW FlexRadio Systems picks up the tab if you’d rather send your radio in for this PEN.  My total time invested was circa ten minutes.

73

Steve K9ZW

 

 

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