Monthly Archives: April 2021

FlexRadio 4o3a TGXL Ship Date Announced – Q3 2021

The new FlexRadio TGXL TunerGenius Antenna Tuner

FlexRadio made the announcement last night via a FlexInsider announcement – the TGXL Tuner Genius antenna tuner developed in the FlexRadio Systems/4o3a working group, is ready to roll out.

The FRS link: The 4o3a page hasn’t been updated but can be found at:

Two models in the initial launch, an SO2R version at $2499 and a single-path 1-input-to-3-output version at $2199.

Early PGXL Power Genius Amp buyers who had a TGXL included in their early adopter package should receive their PGXLs by early summer, with new orders to follow.

Looking forward to receiving mine.



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Hams and Exercise

My recumbent bicycle (stock photo)

Yup, going to talk hardcore fitness for Hams.

Attend a hamfest and it is pretty obvious a significant portion of hams trend to the sedentary.  Very sedentary to say the least.

There are exceptions – a Ham I know started running marathons as he approached retirement after he had decided to take grasp of his health. Let’s call these  types of hams the “Proactive Fit,” reflecting their commitment and goals.

And there are plenty of hams who fall into the “Working Fit” category where genetics, employment and lifestyle leaves them relatively fit, though often as an afterthought rather the result of anything purposeful.  These are the guys who often turn out for the field side of Emcom/Emgov activities.

But then we have the “Great Unfit” whose residual fitness comes from having to move their unfit bulk around. Often the “Great Unfit” imagine themselves as “Working Fit” despite not being able to hang in there if they were actually working.

For the point of my discussion I am not including the “Medically Challenged” as they best not take advice from anyone other than their doctors. Whether an ailment or something orthopedic or any of the other ways we end up medically challenged, their special needs are outside of the general fitness observations I’m sharing.

Also little point in addressing the “Proactive Fit” as they already “get it” concerning fitness.

There is is little fitness is required to participate casually in our hobby.

That low level of required fitness is actually a wonderful aspect of the hobby that allows handicapped and disabled participation in Amateur Radio. It is also a lifeline providing activity if your health changes to the worse, as unlike other hobbies you usually can still do radio.

A Recumbent Elliptical (stock photo)

Our “Working Fit” hams often become part of the “Great Unfit” when employment changes (retiring, or early perhaps being promoted to a supervisor becoming desk-bound), personal health changes, or life situation/stresses change. Yes there are some who stay “Working Fit” regardless of what life sends their way. Lucky rare are those folks.  Most “Working Fit” suffer some sort of decline over time.

Addressing the “Great Unfit” is the biggest concern. This is a fitness level where your lack of fitness starts to curtail your hobby participation.

  • Too heavy to walk the aisles at the hamfest?
  • Not possible to do a DXpedition?
  • You’d love to attend club meetings but can’t do the stairs?

You can do something about these sorts of issues!

Even if you find yourself in the  “Great Unfit” category, do not despair – for most this is changeable.

There is a primary tool you will need to address the issue, a tool that by definition of being a Ham Radio operator you already shown you have superior skills using.

As a ham you already have held yourself to standards by being tested, have the persistence and patience to be on the air, and are thinking at a good level.

So you are already set to effectively use the number one fitness tool you have  – your mind!

Yes you have to vision yourself as more fit, as your attitude, determination and mental commitment are the building blocks of the physical efforts that will follow.

If you don’t have that vision, you are unlikely to make sustained substantive progress towards fitness.

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Antenna Building Time – Blogging Hiatus as a result

A brief post that despite having over four dozen draft posts waiting to be finished, it is antenna building time.

Has finally warmed up enough to make it decent to assemble the two log periodic antennas at the main QTH. They are a Tennadyne T-28 6m to 1.3 gHz and a T-12 30m to 10m models.

Have a lift already lined up to the antennas on the tower, and hopefully it won’t be too long before they are ready to go.

Goal is to get things up on the tower before the buggy season starts.

At the same at my Washington Island QTH plans are to get the tower base in so the tower can go up right after Memorial Day. As the entire setup is a transplant from my former home QTH, everything was working and only needs minor post-transport reassembly. Meeting with the concrete guy this week, and once the base is in I can do this one with my tractor-loader.

So as a result my slow down in posting will be continuing until I get these chores completed.



NW Digital Radio DRAWS in its Correct Case

The K9ZW #1 NW Digital Radio DRAWS is in its correct case.

Started putting my ARRL email on gear in case we get separated.

I’ve started into labeling ports on my equipment in an effort to improve “self-documentation” of gear. Why have to scramble later to online or paper documentation to confirm what voltage and polarity is required? Or whether the Right/Left port naming is by looking “out” from the ports or “looking inwards” at them?

Upper L-R – GPS, Left Radio, Right Radio then the Lower L-R – 5vdc, HDMI 1 & 2, Audio

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A Trip Down Memory Lane – Telnet into Ham Radio BBS

If you are of a certain age you will remember logging into BBS (Bulletin Board Systems) through dial-up modems.  During part of the of early BBS period I was stationed, in school or working overseas, so I would both do local BBS logins and carefully watching my pennies make quick connections from wherever I happened to be.

For a longtime I dragged around a Columbia VP Portable computer which I had hot-rodded with a better processor, loaded with memory including expansion “high” memory, and added storage.  I had a huge stepdown transformer to tame the usual local 250vac-230-vac down to what the Columbia VP could work with.  Old Computers has a page about this early “luggable” portable:  

Columbia VP vintage 1983 – picture from eBay

My graduate thesis was done on this machine, with stacks of 5-1/4 floppys because you **never** depended on the hard disk without a backup or two.

But when I wasn’t working on school or business work, I would look at various BBS for anything I could learn.

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