Monthly Archives: April 2020

Iran’s Satellite perhaps a US Built University CubeSat?

Fellow ham Scott K4KDR’s found Iran’s NOUR 01 “satellite” in orbit by tracking its transmission.  He further researched what the “satellite” most likely is.

What is interesting is the “satellite” appears to be a COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) CubeSat designed and built in the USA!  Would appear that a 3U CubeSat (about 5-1/4 inch cube) was diverted to Iran and was flown largely with default configurations.

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Let there be Light (in the Hamshack Workshop that is)!

Completed phase three in putting more light in the hamshack/workshop.

First three phases were:

  1. Replacing all old incandescent single bulb porcelain fixtures with three times the number of 4-ft LED fixtures in the main workshop.
  2. Replacing all old fluorescent 4-ft fixtures with two times the number of 4-ft LED fixtures in the actual hamshack area.
  3. Replacing the old windows which were not passing much light with new better windows in the actual hamshack area, and adding more windows.

The fourth phase was just completed – replacing the very opaque formerly translucent upper monitor side panels with new transparent panels, in the main workshop area.

The phase four transformation is profound! 
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Thinking Ahead – Importance of Plan-B as an Amateur Radio Operator

Another in the Thinking Ahead series started at

In this post I’ll discuss why having a Plan-B is important to an amateur radio operator.

What is Plan-B?  In ham terms we are talking about contingency planning in terms of keeping ourselves on the air.  A link for contingency plan definition can be found at 

In terms of our ham radio operations we can break down our Plan-B needs into a couple broad categories:

  • Equipment – Antennas
  • Equipment – Transceiver
  • Equipment – everything between Transceiver and Antenna
  • Equipment – Support items
  • Infrastructure – Power
  • Infrastructure – Internet
  • Physical – Shelter
  • Physical – Security
  • Physical – Mobility
  • Knowledge – Troubleshooting and Repair resources
  • Knowledge – Skeds (Schedules) and Frequencies
  • Knowledge – Expected QSO partners

Let’s dig in a little deeper, using questions for each area:

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Creating Durable Systems – Feedlines and Antenna Switching

Creating Durable Systems within the K9ZW Main QTH Shack is a series started with:

The Feedlines and Antenna Switching system can be broken down further:

  • Feedlines to Skyneedle main tower with multiple antennas
  • Feedline to Flagpole Vertical Antenna
  • Feedline to woodland antenna box
  • RX-only feedlines to RBOGs (Reversible Beverage (antennas) On Ground)
  • Feedline to portable antenna test area

The needs for its final build-out, testing and commissioning include:

  • Radio to Feedline Selection Point
  • Feedline Selection Point to individual feedline routing to destination
  • Destination selection of specific antenna in some instances (second switch level)

In way of documentation to make future troubleshooting and repairs easier the links are:

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The Dawn of a New Era? How after the ChiCom Plague we will never go back again. Part 5 – Full Ham Edition

The Dawn of a New Era?  How after the ChiCom Plague we will never go back again – Part 5 – Full Ham Edition

My last post in this series discussing the paradigm shifts in our lives brought on by the ChiCom Plague, but with a particular focus on Amateur Radio.

The paradigm shifts I covered in posts 1, 2, 3 and 4, that appear they will stay with us once the ChiCom Plague virus is thwarted are (in italic to show they were already covered):

  • Accelerated Change on multiple Axis
  • Risk Analysis of Social Contacts
  • Risk Analysis of Group Meetings (Starving the Monkeys)
  • Travel vs Teleconference
  • Supply Chain Robustness
  • Distrust of the MSM and other public voices with an agenda
  • Increase in Personal Preparedness
  • Two-is-One, One-is-None mentality as the new norm
  • Unmaintainable generics vs Sustainable Brand options
  • Exotics vs Field-Maintainable Equipment
  • The Death of JIT (Just in Time) logistics
  • Education Reform
  • The Kennedy Reality (Ask not..)

But what about ham radio? (Listed in Bold to match the other posts):

  • The Hamfest has taken a forever hit
  • Boat Anchors and Used Gear will have polarized values
  • One-Man-Band Equipment Providers will be Challenged
  • Did Big Group Field Day just die for 2020 or did it go the way of the Dodo?
  • What happens to Club Meetings?
  • Supply Chain Issues Favor Domestic Production

Delving into these issues:

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Flagpole Vertical Antenna Progress – Stars & Stripes is Flying!


Flagpole flying the Flag- closeup – pole is 10m +/-tall

After much delay the Flagpole is physically up at the home QTH.
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