Category Archives: Amateur Radio

Non-Radio – DigiGurdy Hurdy Gurdy

iPad and DigiGurdy

Bought (rather than built)  and have started practicing with  a midi controller – a DigiGurdy Hurdy Gurdy.

A starting point on the project is though the various websites are way behind on updates.  

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All but for a switch – tower control at the K9ZW Skyneedle

Yesterday with some great help from my electrician the Skyneedle crank-up control was sorted out.  The following picture is what you do NOT want to see, as the switch had not been properly triggered and ended up past the metal “trigger piece” on the Skyneedle.  I had developed this problem first time I ran the tower upwards, and it was definitely a two-person job to troubleshoot.


The roller micro-switch after it went past the “trigger”

The circuitry on this tower is a very neat upgrade built long ago. I tried tracking down the ham who oral legend said built it, but he is either an SK or in a home. The pencil drawing circuit schematic is pretty weak, and lacks labeling or any description of operation.

Turns out a at the tower control parallels the remote, and that both the on-tower and remote have neutral-positions that are not labeled nor shown on the schematic.

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A little bit of 1D WI 2020 Field Day at K9ZW

Did run a bit of Field Day 2020, but did the lazy ham’s FT8 method of participating while multi-tasking.

Had more than a smidgen of troubles with my particular install of WSJT once switched to Field Day mode with double-entry of QSOs, missed logging of QSOs and error-outs with claims of inaccurate exchange entries (it would drop my sent exchange by the time it tried to log the QSO).

So the usual click-per-QSO became multiple.

I saw where very close to FD that a new WSJT version was released, which may have sorted the issues, but I didn’t upgrade prior to the event and long ago I learned to NEVER upgrade during a contest unless there is no choice.

Better to struggle with a bunch of extra key clicks and perhaps a few unrecorded QSOs than upgrade into bigger issues that could put my station off the air.

I didn’t hook up an external logger program either.  My preparation time was sharply curtailed by other pressing demands, and I didn’t have time to set up a logger with WSJT ahead of FD. 

So I made roughly a 100 QSOs, all FT8, while otherwise working in the workshop. Did listen to a lot of great alpine traditional music, built a new sign for the property, did some musical practicing, and when I tired of sitting at the operating station did yard work.




FlexRadio Community Forum is getting a New Platform

Recent FRS announced:

Notice of GetSatisfaction / FlexRadio User Community

Interruption of Service

GetSatisfaction is the SaaS provider of the FlexRadio User Community (

Recently, FlexRadio was notified by the parent company that GetSatisfaction is shutting down the web services that support our community on June 30, 2020.

Due to this unexpected development, FlexRadio now must source, provision, and deploy a new Community solution on very short notice.  This process is underway and the FlexRadio team is currently evaluating several options and preparing for the move.

Unfortunately, we do anticipate a gap in coverage between the closing down of GetSatisfaction and having a Community tool in production, but it is our goal to complete the work in as quick a time frame as possible.

In addition, we plan to migrate the topics currently hosted in GetSatisfaction into the new solution.  We may choose to take the opportunity to curate portions of the data should we find it no longer relevant to our products and services.

For our customers, we ask for your patience and understanding during this transition.  In the meantime, you can always reach out with your questions on our FaceBook groups “FlexRadio Enthusiasts” or FlexRadio Systems.  These groups are best used to interact with other FlexRadio owners and FlexRadio marketing and sales personnel should you have any ‘how-to’ questions.

If you are experiencing a software or hardware issue, please leverage our FlexRadio HelpDesk.

Moving forward, we will continue to keep you, our customers up to date with the progress.

For all other questions, please email


 Tim – W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

Posted 3 days ago

So the FlexRadio Community is being moved. From many aspects it is likely to improve the community, as the GetSatisfaction/Sprinklr product has appeared from the end user as stale and stagnant.

No announcement yet on what replacement platform FRS has selected, and while I feel sorry for anyone suddenly pushed to move part of their business to a better platform unilaterally, truly FRS has been prevaricating in making the needed transition for some time.
Expect the community to go off-line completely for a bit while things get sorted out.  And of course anything linking in or out of the old community will end up a dead link shortly.

Non-Radio – Kombucha Flavors

I had a couple people ask for a bit of details on my Kombucha brewing, and specifically flavoring. Running a continuous-batch system, based around the equipment & starter from Kombucha Kamp – link: These are really good folk and I recommend you check them out if interested in brewing your own.

I’ve been working from in-the-bottle flavorings based partly on word-of-mouth, part right from the Big Book of Kombucha (which you can get from Kombucha Kamp), part from internet & book references, and lastly from instinctive experimentation.

Ten of my recent flavors

I’ve been rotating through roughly 18 different recipes in an effort to tweak them the way we like them.

Here are some close-ups:

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Radio making a trip to Austin – used Flex-6700 bench-check and display

A used Flex-6700 I bought a while back is headed back to the mother ship for a good checkout and because the OLED stopped working.

A little different process in the midst of this Virus, as FRS meters-out RMAs to first allow inbound a bit of precautionary quarantine time when it arrives to them.

As the repair is not critical and the bench-check precautionary, I’ve just kept using the radio. As 95% of the time I am physically either LAN-remote or WAN-remote, I never see the display most of the time.

And the bench-check often is something I would have done when I purchased a used radio, but I was busy and never arranged for a trip to FRS at purchase.

Of my Flex-6000 radios this is the first one to go in for something wrong with it. Others have gone in, but that has been for factory installed upgrades on the first 6700 I purchased (serial #11, unboxed June 21st, 2013).

I’ve had a lot more troubles with the PC end of the equation than the radios.