Monthly Archives: February 2019

Rack Ideas – A Question on Power

In my post on my working on rack configuration ideas, Paul W7PFB bought up a great question – what about the power & wiring configuration?

I’m envisioning three distribution situations, a 240v amp power supply, a 110v AC power supply and a nominal 12v DC (actually 13.8v) dual power supply.

The Amp’s 240v single phase is straight forward, as I have a 240v receptacle where I’m planning to position the rack.

The 110v AC is being handled by the rack power strip, which has as many receptacles on its back as on its face. Including plugging in the two DC power supplies all 110v needs will be routed there.

The nominal 12v DC (which is of course actually 13.8v) is supplied by two Astron power supplies. Here I have a pending decision to make of whether to transfer over the existing West Mountain RigRunners or to finally make the leap to a preferred type of power connector?

Realistically the connector change is going to wait and the existing setup will move over.

I’ve sketched the general flow:

K9ZW Rack Layout Sketch

K9ZW Rack with Power Markup

Planning to “pin” the Power Poles for security until such time as make a transition.

Actual cable routing has started with some general rack hardware, and I’ll likely use some plastic removable-top square cable tray in places.

Another set pair of wiring considerations are Cat6e to a router (not shown) that will be at the back of a shelf on the rack, along with “other control wiring” for the Flex-6000 (USB cables) and Serial Cables for the Station Genius plus legacy device usage.

Ground is going to be pretty straight forward, as I will run a copper pipe down the rack, and us braid to ground the various devices.

RF will also be fairly straight forward by a jumper from the tuner off the rack.

Additional jumping off the rack will be a station ground tie-in by braid, Ethernet, rotor control cables where I’ve been using 10-pin trailer type hookups, audio balanced cable for a local studio microphone, and the two types of power. Whew!

Great question Paul W7PFB!  Thank you!



Rack Ideas

Working on rack configuration ideas.

Here is the sketch:

K9ZW Rack Layout Sketch

Basically I took the size, including free space if required for ventilation, and out the heaviest at the bottom.

The Amp opening is sized for an Alpha 9500 rather than just the PGXL so they can be interchanged.



Mesh Systems for the Shack – Ubiquiti’s AMPLIFI in the new K9ZW Shack

The new QTH has long had a wireless internet problem. The build quality, heavy surrounding woods, size and some inconveniently places steel reinforced stonework had made it difficult to cover the house itself with WiFi. The remote workshop was considered pretty much WiFi and cell signal immune.

There was a sort of WiFi route down the spine of the main house built from Netgear wireless routers. It’s throughput reduced awful internet to a trickle.

Initially rather than address the distribution I put a bandage on it by adding several more Netgear net-extenders which did cover the whole house with the same dismal internet trickle.

After an extremely annoying month of waiting for Frontier to upgrade our aDSL to barely acceptable standards, only to be told that they never even installed the main office gear in the nearby central office as a cost savings exercise. Not only are they advertising and try to sell the service having promised the community then upgrade, but they apparently have zero intention of do the upgrade. Their ads lie, their sales people are trying to up-sell based on the same lies, and they can’t deliver. Frontier was able to do a limited amount of line conditioning to bring us up to something usable in throughput, but way below what remote station operation or video conferencing like FaceTime would really require.

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Some Further FT8 Thoughts

Okay what is FT8 like after a bunch of QSOs?

Personally I cannot see FT8 being “my radio experience” by itself. The QSOs are fairly soulless and while technically fulfilling every aspect of a recordable QSO they lack the gravitas of a human-to-human QSO.

As we all use some aids to our radio efforts, whether Spots, Keyers, Memories, Macros and other QSO-flow-aids there is no point in getting self righteous about the highly automated FT8 QSO experience.

The hobby and regulatory consensus of what is a “true QSO” is easily met by FT8.

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Computer and Audio Racks for Amateur Radio

As I start moving my main station from the QTH we are selling to our new QTH 12 miles west, I’ve wanted to put my Flex-6700 Station into a rack.

I’ve not found an all-in-one information resource on how to do a cost effective rack design.

So I’m going to hammer the keys with the tidbits I have picked up and hopefully these notes will be helpful for someone else.

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Assembling a Receive Preamp for a Yaesu DR-1X Repeater

Yaesu DR-1X repeater installations I’ve been able to look at have mostly had an added Receive Preamp added to help the RX side of the DR-1X better match the TX side.

Dave N9JDZ assembled the Preamp in use at the Washington Island WI9DX 2m repeater, and pointed me in the right direction to assemble one for the 2m repeater I am sponsoring.

The preamp module


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