Monthly Archives: May 2022

Lending a Helping Hand – W9EMY’S First HF QSO

Spending the long Memorial Day weekend on Washington Island (WI-001L) Wisconsin, I learned that Emmett W9EMY had taking his Tech & General tests together, applied for a vanity call as he was sequentially assigned a tongue-twister call, BUT hadn’t made an Amateur Radio contact!

One of his Elmers, George W9EVT seemed to have presumed that Emmett W9EMY had his station on the air, and like true gentlemen they “talked around” what could have been a question of “Hey W9EMY, how about knocking out some QSOs?”

Emmett had asked to look at my ZeroFive Flagpole Vertical Antenna, and when I asked him if he had his station running and how did he like making contacts, I learned he hadn’t been on the air.

Well that sure needed to be fixed!  So tuning the Island QTH Flex-6700 across 20 meters, we heard Rick VE6CQ holding court, working stations at a good pace.  So we listened and talked about the parts of the QSOs until a nice opportunity came up to have W9EMY call VE6CQ.

Turns out I had the microphone gain too hot, as I had switched to a Neuman mic on a boom for Emmett to us, but left the settings for another mic.  Rick VE6CQ came back with additional information that our settings were messed up.  My mistake fixed in less time that it takes to type about it.

Emmett W9EMY and Rick VE6CQ had a great classic QSO with VE6CQ throwing in an on-air pep-talk about amateur radio, HF and I think he may have worked in an appreciation of life itself in there somewhere.  I was inspired by Rick VE6CQ’s pep-talk even though I was the Elmer rather than the new guy that day!!

Time restraints kept Emmett’s first foray limited to that first QSO, but I did do a quick FT8 demo as Emmett wanted to see that in operation.

Then we arranged a Sked (scheduled contact) for the following day, and Emmett W9EMY from his home Flex-6400 station had a roundtable discussion with myself on my Flex-6700 and George W9EVT who was on his Kenwood TS-990S.

Now that we were all within a small local circle kind of made it easy,!  Actually W9EVT and I are a fifteen minute walk apart, and Emmett is another twenty minutes or so further west than George W9EVT is  from my QTH.

Was fantastic to get another new ham on HF for their first contact!

And to hear Rick VE6CQ’s pep talk was icing on the cake.



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Brass Pin on the side of 811A and 572B Tubes

Not every power tube installation uses a simple push-in tube socket.

A straight-push insert replacement socket

Some older ham gear, audio gear and military/avionic sockets are twist-type.

Twist-Insert Socket – look for the pin guide slot in the collar

As something has to fit the index slot, a Brass Pin on the side of 811A and 572B Tubes is a mechanical index and retention pin.

Brass Indexing Pin (on an 811A)

These sockets where you have you insert the tube base with the pin in an L-shaped slot, Push in And then Rotate are kind of neat.

Looking down into a twist-type socket

Most old tubes have a pin that sticks out about 60-70/1000th of an inch.   A small group of original 811A tubes from my amps that W9KR measured showed .062” to .071”.

The pin length on new tubes may vary, as I received 572B tubes with an exposed 94/1000th of an inch of pin which is sticks out too far for one  of the socket locations in my amps, as the overly long pin doesn’t quite clear other components and chassis in my amplifiers.  The 572B tubes W9KR measured .091” to .094” pin extension lengths.

I have not been able to find an original specification for pin length.

When confronted with an overly long pin that hits chassis or components, a bit of Dremel tool time, relieving the excess pin length or sanding away the entire projecting pin, will sort things out.



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Dayton Xenia Hamvention 2022 – Jeff KE9V’s Final Report

A bit unusual for With Varying Frequency, we have words from a guest to share.  Jeff KE9V is a long time ham, podcaster, author and blogger.  We’ve corresponded for years.

Jeff KE9V made it to FDIM (Four Days in May – the QRP event) and Hamvention, and has agreed his observations could appear here.

I’ve minimized any edits, mostly adding Jeff’s call sign when it added clarity.

While doing a massive amount of creative work, Jeff KE9V rebuilds his web presence removing the old to make way for the new periodically.  Some of his ham radio fiction podcasts may be put up for a few days a year, but then maybe not.

Link to where his blog and other work usually appears and to his twitter feed when he is doing that

Presenting part of our dialogue, oldest to newest:

FIDM by Jeff KE9V

I’m here at the Four Days in May event and it looks like attendance is about 2/3 of usual.

Tomorrow at the fairgrounds should be interesting…

Jeff [KE9V]

Quick Update (1) by Jeff KE9V

Big news (to me) is that Kenwood isn’t here this year. Oddly enough, TenTec has a booth!

I’m going to maintain my estimate on vendors at 2/3rds of normal. Not empty but not pressed for space anywhere. Lots of open places in flea market.

Everything kinda looks just like 2019 to me!

My Reply

Continue reading

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Non-Radio – Playing with the Pinzgauer

As we had family and friends visiting, I pulled out our 710M Pinzgauer to do one-on-one rides and driving experiences.

Pinzgauer 710M 4×4 (Ham Shack/Workshop is behind)

The front view, notice the high clearance.

Another side view

Back end looking very “closed up”

Was really hard to not get the truck and people dirty by going off road.

But I had my directions.

It was a bit too cold to roll up the back canvas and expect anyone to enjoy a ride from the troop carrier portion of the truck.  So I did a series of rides, and for a few that seemed eager did a bit of driving instruction.

Sorry the photos are mine taken at the end of the weekend, as the action & people shots are on other’s phones.



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Getting NEC5 to work with EZNEC

First off, yes the instructions are in the EZNEC manual (page 60). I eventually found them by searching the manual. And a further yes, they are a bit less than intuitive.

With you licensed copy of NEC 5.0 X.13 downloaded, and EZNEC installed on your system:

  1. Unpack the NEC 5.0 X.13 folder, putting a copy of the whole folder in the \EZNEC 7.0\Docs\ folder EZNEC previously created.
  2. Start EZNEC, selecting Options>Calculating Engines>NEC 5
  3. When prompted navigate to the .exe in the NEC 5.0 X.13 folder and select the non-32bit .exe (unless you know you need the 32 bit one for your system, then us that one) (The manual file names are for an older X.11 version of NEC 5.0)
  4. The system should ask you to associate model file names with the engine, to which you say yes.
  5. Save the new configuration as Options>Default
  6. You can later confirm through EZNEC Utilities Menu that all is good.

If you are running the free trial version AutoEZ and have downloaded the NEC 5.0 X.13 test models AutoEZ provides, you will find they won’t run as they have too many elements for the trial version. The NEC 5.0 X.13 Antenna Model test files work under the licensed version of AutoEZ though.

Note that NEC 5.0 updated how Objects are Placed (read page 97) and there are some tradeoffs  (see table on page 180).  The appears to mean that if you want to run your models both with the built-in EZNEC NEC-2 (called EZCalcD) and the External NEC 5.0 engines, you likely will need to make two models to properly place the objects that make up your antenna model.



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Dayton/Xenia Hamvention 2022 New Products

Gathering the product news passed on to me from those at Hamvention:

New/Replacement Products

  • Icom HT and Mobile
  • Italab Amp (Silent Two)
  • [Edited 23MAY22]  Several new “small brand” radios and kits, most which work of their arrival came after the event.

“We got one also!” Products like the other guy’s

  • Solid State Amps from Icom (IC-PW2)
  • and Acom (2020S)

Firmware/Software Upgrades

  • Icom for the IC-705
  • FlexRadio for SmartSDR (was released a few weeks prior to the event)

Interesting Accessories

  • Protection/Field Kits for certain Icom and Elecraft transceivers

Preproduction/release Announcements of Hardware/Software

  • SDRplay rewrite/update/rename (SDRconnect)
  • FlexRadio SmartSDR update previews


  • Heil Ham Radio separates from Heil Sound
  • Kenwood (JVCKenwood) continues to deemphasize and closeout its Amateur Radio offerings
  • Haven’t heard anything about the promised GHz products

Weird Announcements

  • ARRL International DX Contest Log by N3FJP being announced by the usual news sources as version 1.0 where latest release is already version 5.1.2 [Edited 23MAY22 – I got this one figured out, as the v1.0 reference is for the new “Digital Contest” version.]

Show/Internet Discounts

  • Yaesu, Icom, FlexRadio, Kenwood, Alinco, Heil, Uniden, SDRplay, Ham Radio Outlet, Gigparts, DX Engineering,