Category Archives: Amateur Radio

First look at the Flexradio Maestro at Dayton Hamvention 2015 – YouTube

I would really like to be able to credit this video, but no call sign anywhere.

Like to YouTube video of the Maestro: First look at the Flexradio Maestro at Dayton Hamvention 2015 – YouTube.

Also a photo of Howard KY6LA holding a unit:

KY6LA with a FRS Maestro Prototype

KY6LA with a FRS Maestro Prototype

And a concept for station design by Beppe IK3VIG:

IK3VIG's Maestro Station Concept

IK3VIG’s Maestro Station Concept

A link to the FRS Maestro Page:  http://www.flexradio.com/amateur-products/flex-6000-signature-series/maestro/

(Please follow the link there for the latest pdf specification sheet on the Maestro).

Here is another shot courtesy of Jeff KE9V:

FRS Maestro - photo by Jeff KE9V

FRS Maestro – photo by Jeff KE9V

I have mine on order.  Will be VERY useful the way I operate.

73

Steve
K9ZW

What we will see at Dayton 2015?

Hard to imagine that Dayton Hamvention 20115 is just over a week away!

Planning to take in the Collins Collectors Association Dinner on Friday Evening and the FlexRadio Systems Banquet on Saturday evening.

Of huge interest is what new thing(s) will Hamvention 2015 bring?

The first generation of Touch-Screen HT’s is here, adding soft-key functionality to the HT format.  If having your HT act like your Smartphone is you bag, you will love these new HTs.

More Touch-Screen & large enhanced display Mobile radios are also announced.  Several look very fine indeed in early ad copy, and could look very nice in a modern vehicle compared to the graft-in industrial-appliance look & feel of many radios now.

There a a raft of new exciting small-SDR receivers and transceivers, many at low enough price points that most anyone can join the SDR game.

Though there is no announcement and as usual FlexRadio Systems’ information release discipline impressively has not put legs to any buzz yet, I am expecting to at a minimum a major point release of SmartSDR even though the 1.4.x release is still only weeks old, and I’ll go on a limb to predict at least a public beta of the functionality of SmartSDR 2.0.x if not a release.  This will be the long awaited WAN-enabled version that lets scenarios like working from my home station from my office desk miles away become routine rather than technically advanced.  I am also predicting a QRP/low-power single slice radio either positioned between the last production PowerSDR radio the Flex-1500 and the current value leader SmartSDR Flex-6300, or as a replacement to the Flex-1500.  We may see significant either third party produced or FlexRadio System marketed additional software options and/or hardware options.  Wondering if a native-OS-X version of SmartSDR might be at least shown?

The mainstream radio producers will continue to push evolutionary improvements of what is largely their present platforms, but don’t be surprised if at least one or more either show or are talking about a new SDR version.

Hoping that some of the rumored shack-integration developments are seen in real products.

Unanswered is whether the recently corporately reconfigured RF Concepts Alpha & TenTec ownership will be ready to offer new radios and the long overdue Alpha 4040 Autotuner?  The recent ownership change may push off expected launches, or again may not?  We will have to wait to see.

The market for high-end designer CW Keys seems prime for some new product launches.  With some of the consolidation with Bencher folded into Vibroplex, perhaps they will have new models to show – maybe even a new premium line product?

The strong dollar may bring in some more of the excellent Euro_Gear we read about but seldom see.

More thoughts will be posted over the run up to my travels to Dayton.

73

Steve
K9ZW

K9ZW/W9JSB Operations – May 8th/9th (9th in Zulu) Island Operations

Planning SSB 20m & 15m unless band conditions are poor. We’re equipped to do 80-6m if needed.
Usual fall back if bands are to weak for SBB QSOs.
If bad bands we will a switch to digital – most likely PSK31 at the usual calling frequencies.

Tentative schedule (UCT in bold, local time in italics):

  • May 9th – 00:00Z operations at Step-In Island WI039R will likely run 2 hours to 02:00Z (That is actually Friday May 8th Local Time 7PM for the two hours – it will be dark by 8:15 PM +/- and the bar on the island has just gone out of business – <<insert sad face here >>> which also means no outside lights or power to use to extend operations much past dark)
  • Planning to be on The Flats Island WI041R 13:00Z until 16:00Z (Saturday Local Time 8-11AM), then breaking down & meeting Scott W9JSB for Lunch,
  • followed by running from Banta Island WI057R (First Time Activation) 18:00Z to at least 21:00Z (Saturday Local Time 1-4PM). NOTE If rate merits we will run Banta Island longer, since it is a brand new one.

Weather will have a lot of impact of course. We won’t be able to run if it is lightening or raining (and despite a cold cold spring it better not snow again until winter!!)

We have tentative additional operators, but no one has confirmed as of this morning.
W9JSB is bringing his bag of QRP tricks along, and possible may join on Friday night for Step-In Island WI039R operations as well.

73

Steve
K9ZW

BLOG: https://k9zw.wordpress.com
US Islands Program website: http://www.usislands.org

May 2015 US Island Program One Day Getaway Island Activation Plans

Of course our friend George W9EVT will be operating for the day from Washington Island WI001L

Here further south in Wisconsin the team is myself and Scott W9JSB.  We may add one or two more hams, but they haven’t confirmed as I wrote.

Plan is The Friday evening part (May 9th 0000Z to dark)  to operate from Step-In Island WI039R.  This is a second time activation of an Island in Shoto Wisconsin.

Saturday will start with “The Flats” WI041R – an Island in Appleton Wisconsin in the Fox River – with myself running solo, and Scott W9JSB will join after he is done coaching his kids soccer team to do a first time ever activation for Banta Island WI057R.   Banta Island is further downstream in the Fox River, still in Appleton.

Equipment will be a bit different for the One Day Getaway than my past Island operations:

  • Transceiver – FlexRadio Systems Flex-6300, running SmartSDR 1.4.3 and a Toshiba Laptop
  • Antenna – SteppIR CrankIR antenna

I used this FlexRadio/CrankIR set up with great success for Washington Island WI001L weekends at Rocky Ridge Farm – a place we leased last season about 2 miles from George W9EVT’s QTH. As most folk refused to believe I wasn’t running an Amp and a Beam when I ran the setup from Rocky Ridge Farm, I am hoping the same performance will work for the team for the One Day Getaway.

Appreciate some help for the first time activation!  We need at least 25 confirmed QSOs with a minimum of one DX QSO to make the activation of Banta Island WI057R official.  Hoping we can catch many of you on the air that day!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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US Islands Awards Program’s “One-Day Getaway” – Saturday, May 9, 2015

Don’t miss this:

 http://www.usislands.org/USI-1DG-PressRelease.pdf

Contact: Jay Chamberlain, NS4J US Islands Awards Manager ns4j@usislands.org

For Immediate Release

Hams Hit the Water for the new US Islands Awards Program’s “One-Day Getaway” – Saturday, May 9, 2015

February 19, 2015

Fans of portable ham radio are encouraged to grab their equipment and head for the water as part of the new “One-Day Getaway,” sponsored by the US Islands awards program. The annual event will make its debut on Saturday, May 9, 2015, from 0000 UTC through 2359 UTC (Friday evening to Saturday evening in the continental US).

Founded in 1994, US Islands promotes portable ham radio operations from islands found in all bodies of water: lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and coastal islands in US territorial waters. The One-Day Getaway is an on-air activity, not a contest: no scores are tallied and no prizes are awarded. Participation from all radio amateurs, regardless of experience level, is encouraged.

“US Islands is a great way to go on a mini-DXpedition without spending a lot of money,” said US Islands Awards Manager Jay Chamberlain, NS4J. “Discovering islands in your own back yard and setting up a station outdoors is always a good time. If hams have only operated outdoors during Field Day, we offer another route to get outside and enjoy portable ham radio in a different way.”

Contacts can be made with any station; US Islands offers achievement awards for both island activators and island chasers, including a certificate for your first US Islands activation.

While there are over 2,800 islands on the US Islands list, there are more than 17,000 islands within the United States. Participants can use Google Earth to locate new islands and be the first to operate ham radio from that location! Complete information on the US Islands Program, a how-to guide for One-Day Getaway participants and a list of currently qualified islands is available at http://www.usislands.org.

#####

 

 

Working on doing an activation myself for the event! Details to follow!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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The eHam SDR Forum Troll-Fest – How Moderator Failure Leads to a Useless Forum

A recent visit to the eHam SDR Forum again confirms that eHam is effectively being run by trolls. The moderators are at best AWOL, and often defend the open trolling. What a failure.

I’ve written about the eHam Moderator Failure for years:

2013 – EHAM SHOULD BE ASHAMED HAVING BECOME THE SDR TROLL-FEST OF AMATEUR RADIOLink

2011 – WHY I SKIP THE EHAM FORUMSLink

2008 – EHAM – HAM COMMUNITY CROSS SECTION OR HAM HOBO-LAND?Link

With a seven year effort to ask the Moderators at eHam to clean up their mess to no response, and even having these faux-moderators take me to task for complaining, it is crystal clear – eHam likes & supports Trolls.

eHam Troll Fest in Action

eHam Troll Fest in Action

Suppose in the eHam rational anything that increases page views – aka “hits” chargeable to advertisers – is a good thing.

Or perhaps the Trolls are nothing more than pseudonyms of the eHam Moderators?

Nothing else seems to make sense.

Regardless of the eHam rational, they are failing the amateur radio community by allowing their pet pack of Trolls to run off anyone who doesn’t agree with their non-user ultra-negative falsehoods-based Trolling.

This makes the Moderators “Assistant Trolls” if not actually qualifying them as Trolls themselves, and shame on them.

To so many of us who actually spend some coin enjoying this hobby eHam has lost relevance because of their Troll-Enablement moderation. I guess that is why I look at eHam but once in a great while, and usually leave disappointed.

A word to the advertisers at eHam, while I do buy your products I will never click on a eHam ad. This is my quiet simple protest of the foulness eHam supports.  No advertisers will earn my dollars through an eHam ad, ever.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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