Category Archives: Amateur Radio

Collins S-Line Mostly Returns

A load of Collins S-Line gear

After MUCH work and TLC by Chuck W9KR, the majority of both of my Collins S-Line stations was ready to pick up.

The 32s1 transmitter is only major piece left behind for final work, as it hasn’t been behaving as expected on each band.

On a temporary basis the RE (Round Emblem) late production transceiver – KWM-2/A with 321B5 Second VFO – and station components (30L1 Amp, 516F2 Power Supply and so on..) will be set up where my Flex-6600M runs. This will let me work the rig lunch hours and after work, as I would like to let the station run for a bit before hauling it out to Washington Island.

I’ll do the same with the 32s1/75s1/30L1/312B4/516F2 WE (Winged Emblem) station when the transmitter is done.

The work Chuck W9KR did is monumental. Recapped, Upgraded, New tubes as required, new parts as required, decades of dust & grime removed, New 572b tubes, in certain cases mouse infestations sign removed, tech bulletin upgrades, CCA upgrades, and a few Chuck W9KR upgrades – especially in improving the reliability of the 516F2 power supplies.

The gear arguably should work better than when new, should be reliable and should have all that great Collins sound.

Quietly I cannot say enough with the detective work and bench work of Chuck W9KR.  I realize that I have so much to learn just in order to fully understand all the goodness he baked into these radios.

Lots of Collins fun ahead for me working the airwaves with refreshed vintage gear!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Non-Radio – Fleet Changes ’64 Studebaker Champ Pickup Arrives and Two French Cars Leave

The 1964 Studebaker Champ Pickup

As already mention, I picked up a very nice 1964 Studebaker 8E7 Champ Pickup Truck Wide-Bed for use at the hamshack/workshop.

Having said that someday I’d like a Studebaker Pickup, and that actual someday arrived.

I waived good bye to the Panhard 24bt 2-door, which while very rare in the USA and a very nice example, I did not fit very well  inside it or driving it. The XYL thought the Panhard 24bt was a very cute car, and she was not for selling it, but then she didn’t want to drive it either.

Also waived good bye to the Citroen DSuper5. Here I found the project of renovating an exceptionally solid and original car more exciting than driving the car, and the XYL gave the car a weak “meh” always suggesting we take out something else.

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Hamshack Utility Vehicle

1964 Studebaker Champ Pickup

Found an old pickup to serve as the Hamshack Utility vehicle.

We actually as my hamshack is in my workshop, this is more about having a way move stuff that shouldn’t be inside my SUV.

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Creating Durable Systems – Productivity Software, Software Licensing and Alternatives

Creating Durable Systems within the K9ZW Main QTH Shack is a series started with:  https://wp.me/p2XN8-1Sc

In addition to the Station’s Essential Software and Convenient Software Productivity Software is not only needed for an active station, but is really needed to run your household.

I find that the majority of my personal productivity needs are met with a good Word processor, Spreadsheet, Email Client, Browser and because of the style of writing I often do, a research aggregator.

I’m pretty good with Windows Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, Edge/Chrome) , macOS native programs (Pages, Numbers, Mail, Safari/Chrome/Vivaldi) or the Linux OpenOffice/LibreOffice versions.

Usually I add Notepad ++ or equivalent, an IRC Client (MIRC or Igloo), some messaging apps (Signal, WhatsApp usually), as a basic build-out, then the utilities and tools.

The needs for its final build-out, testing and commissioning include all the usual purchase if that is required, download and installation.

In way of documentation to make future troubleshooting and repairs easier the links are mostly self-documented on that particular machine.  I’ve implemented an internal Wiki-style station notes system where settings, licensing information, and configurations can also be included.

To keep all of versions mostly the same, a copy of downloadables is kept as  local copies at each of the three QTH’s station computers.

In terms of Redundancy/Backup/Failure Options, if I cannot keep the respective hardware going enough to reinstall the software, if it breaks, then I will have to move to backup computers.  Two of the three station computers have formal backup systems, and the third is used only on some weekends, and the data is pulled to a USB drive, but as the risks to integrity would so closely parallel the station computer itself, a formal back up is only done periodically manually.

Again this is an area where my station could streamline down and double down on having redundancy.

73

Steve

K9ZW

Slid right past that 2,000 Blog Post Milestone!

Yeah! Over 2000 posts at With Varying Frequency!

I didn’t even notice when I went past the milestone a few weeks ago.

Started in January 2007 and here 15 years later I’ve average a bit under 72 hours between posts.

Though I had made a few posts prior, the public face of this blog was launch January 2007:

Welcome to “With Varying Frequency – Amateur Radio Ponderings

Not to wright some more good stuff!

73 and thank you for being one of my readers!

Steve
K9ZW

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Creating Durable Systems – Station Software, Software Licensing and Alternatives

Creating Durable Systems within the K9ZW Main QTH Shack is a series started with:  https://wp.me/p2XN8-1Sc

The Software, Software Licensing and Alternatives systems can be broken down further into Essential Software and Convenient Software :

Basically the divide is segmented by what do you HAVE to have running to run the station vs what would you ALSO like to run to make it nice and easy.

Essential Software

Essential Software in a FlexRadio based station is more extensive than other station hardware builds.  A huge amount depends on SmartSDR and it’s related programs (DAX, CAT, PGXL-Utility, TGXL-Utility, SmartLink and the drivers behind).

As a software defined radio (SDR) you simply must have software to run the station.

In Essential Software I am including a running compatible OS (Operating System).  Mostly using Windows FlexRadio clients, I do have macOS clients.  For my non-FlexRadio software I am using Windows, macOS, Linux (Mint mostly), and Chrome.

Convenient Software

Convenient Software are the WSJT, flidgi, DDUTIL, FlexStack, N4PY, Ham Radio Deluxe, Grayline, TimeSync, Loggers of all flavors, types of software.  You would run this software unless it added to your station, but if the software wasn’t operating/available you could still do some communications with it.

I would also throw in this category Antenna Modeling, Productivity Software (Word processor, Spreadsheet and such) and many utilities/services.  One example of Convenient Software would be Sonos APP, as when running digital at home I will use Sonos plus a streaming software to listen to podcasts or music.

These two categories are not hard and fast, and depending on operating style some Convenient Software will be Essential Software for a particular operator.

The needs for its final build-out, testing and commissioning include all the usual purchase if that is required, download and installation.

In way of documentation to make future troubleshooting and repairs easier the links are mostly on my software page.  I’ve implemented an internal Wiki-style station notes system where settings, licensing information, and configurations are included.

To keep all of versions mostly the same, a copy of downloadables is kept on a USB Flash Drive in addition to local copies at each of the three QTH’s station computers.

In terms of Redundancy/Backup/Failure Options, if I cannot keep the respective hardware going enough to reinstall the archived software, then I will have to move to backup radios.  Two of the three station computers have formal backup systems, and the third is used only on some weekends, and the data is pulled to a USB drive, but as the risks to integrity would so closely parallel the station computer itself, a formal back up is only done periodically manually.

This is an area where my station could streamline down and double down on having redundancy.

73

Steve

K9ZW