Category Archives: Amateur Radio

About the RBOG Antennas

I’d started putting together a V-shaped array of RBOG Antennas (Reversible Beverage on Ground) originally intended to be installed at my Washington Island home.  Everything major gathered but the actual install delayed with personal distractions which included moving our main home late in 2018.  Currently evaluating whether to deploy the RBOG array at the Island or at home.

A discussion at the FlexRadio Community forum seemed like a good excuse to consolidate the RBOG material acquisition information I had in emails and put together a reference, especially as based of achieved performance I might want to duplicate the setup at the other QTH.

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Single Point of Failure – One Man Band dependencies

The is the second in a series of “Single Point of Failure” discussions I’ll be posting.

We’ve all seen the “One Man Band” show in operation. The person who perhaps has a website or maybe even a Hamvention booth but that seems to have no actual company behind their product.

They may be brilliant or just confident enough to offer a product. They may be  undercapitalized all but sleeping in their car, or well heeled. They may be truly alone, or maybe have some family members involved.

But in the end they fail to convince you that there is any assurance of support if they personally were suddenly out of the picture.

They may leave you questioning whether they will make it home from Dayton if they don’t have enough sales.
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K9ZW Upgrades to FlexRadio Systems SmartSDR version 3.0 with multiFlex

K9ZW Upgrades to FlexRadio Systems SmartSDR version 3.0 with multiFlex

This week FRS released SmartSDR v3.0 adding multiFlex to the Flex-6000 working environment.

I’ve updated all four K9ZW radios. Actually the Two Flex-6700s were updated as part of the FRS Alpha Testing program, where invited testers were allowed to buy their upgrades early in the process as part of the QA (Quality Assurance) and testing process.

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Single Point of Failure – Software in the Shack

The is the first in a series of “Single Point of Failure” discussions I’ll be posting.

I am a “Two is One, and One is None” sort of person.  I’m more comfortable with decent levels of backup and redundancy than I am in winging things with a one-off kludge.

Most ham radio shacks have a computer where we run loggers, control software, other controls, utilities, DX clusters, digital mode software, voice/code keyers, audio processing, and all the other software parts of our ham radio toolbox.

Over time we tend to build our operations around how all the software parts work for us.

But do we step by step create dependencies that we might not give enough thought to, and further fail to recognize that we’ve accepted “Single Point of Failure” situations as our new status quo?

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multiFlex – sharing your Flex-6000 experience

Just in case you missed the FlexRadio official announcements, the new SmartSDR Version 3.0.19 was released this week.

SmartSDR v3 adds multiFlex, the capability to split your Flex-6000 into distinct virtual radios.

A bit of background – a Flex-6000 as hardware is a radio server.  While it does have some physical interconnects like antennas and power, an operator never directly controls a Flex-6000.  Rather their software operates independently on a computer that then reaches out to control the Flex-6000.

SmartSDR prerelease v0 and initial release v1 need the radio server and the operating computer to appear on the same subnet.  This requires both to be on the same LAN or use of a VPN.

SmartSDR v2 added SmartLink which brokers suitable WAN connections to allow easy access from your controlling computer to your radio server over the internet.

The new SmartSDR v3 adds multiFlex which allows a share of your radio server between coordinated multiple SmartLink or local connections.

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Some Flex-6000 SmartSDR version 3 Plans

Soon FlexRadio will be releasing SmartSDR version 3.0 which brings multiFlex to the table.

The game changer is multiFlex allows a radio to be shared between instances.  Out the gate two users can locally or remotely operate the same radio.

Management of the suddenly complex situation is the multiFlex part of the equation.   If you’re a techie the Flex-6000 acts as a radio server dishing out data in VITA-49 packets with Flex extensions much along the way serious communications gear interact.  Think avionics or military type scenarios, where gear simply has to work with other manufacturers gear in mission critical situations.

Well maybe not quite that dramatic, but seriously clever and techie.

At the level I am going to discuss my plans you might be better off envisioning each Flex-6000 as a media server and each actual user instance as just another TV on a big home media system.  Perhaps like your dish setup.

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