Category Archives: Creating Durable Systems

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

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

 

Creating Durable Systems – Vintage Station and Integration

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

The Vintage Station and Integration system can be broken down further:

  • Collins HF-380/Alpha-95 setup (Home QTH)
  • Collins S-Line 32s1/75s1/30s1 setup (Home/Work QTH)
  • Collins S-Line KW-2A setup (Island QTH)

Both S-Line stations are currently receiving massive-TLC at the hands of Chuck W9KR, and should be ready by early summer.

The HF-380 station is ready to go.

The needs for each stations final build-out, testing and commissioning include:

Collins HF-380/Alpha-95 setup (Home QTH)

Station requires a few additional jumpers, but is otherwise ready to use and had been on the air.

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Creating Durable Systems – Emergency Shut-Offs/Fire Fighting/First Aid

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

The Emergency Shut-Offs/Fire Fighting/First Aid system can be broken down further:

  • Master Power Shutoff [In place and confirmed operation – needs signage added]
  • Remote Tower Power Cutoff [Installed and confirmed operation – needs signage added]
  • Fire Fighting [Basics in place, needs further review]
  • Local Smoke/CO alarms [Basics in place, needs further review]
  • Remote reporting Smoke/CO Alarms [Basics in place, needs further review]
  • First Aid [Basics in place, needs further review]
  • Emergency Alert [In place and confirmed operation – needs signage added with specific emergency numbers]

The needs for its final build-out, testing and commissioning include:

  • Check all extinguishers, add any additional ones needed, and set up an inspection/service schedule.
  • Check are smoke alarms and set up a service schedule.
  • Add a second remote-reporting smoke alarm unit.
  • Consider replacing the basic first aid kit with a larger team-type kit
  • Put small first aid kits and fire extinguishers in the service clubman cart
  • Do signage as appropriate
  • If on-site teams might start doing contesting, consider adding an AED
  • Move all flammables to a separate storage shed.

And my system is built of:

  • Hardwired electrical shut offs
  • First Alert smoke alarms
  • IoT smoke alarms
  • Dedicated CO alarms with 10 year batteries
  • Several brands of conventional fire extinguishers and first aid kits

In terms of Redundancy/Backup/Failure Options:

  • Additional First Aid and Fire Extinguishers are in the main house and in owned vehicles.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Creating Durable Systems – Tower/Tower Control

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

The Tower/Tower Control system can be broken down further:

  • TriEx Skyneedle OEM controls, with remote enhancement by a now SK ham. (Identity not confirmed).
  • Hand built control box by the same ham.
  • Tower base control switches.

The needs for its final build-out, testing and commissioning include:

  1. Confirm operation [Completed – all working]
  2. Reset all limit switches [Completed – all working]
  3. Testing of on-tower controls [Completed – all working]
  4. Complete connection wiring the control back to the hamshack (wires are all pulled)

In way of documentation to make future troubleshooting and repairs easier the links are:

  • Redraw wiring diagram
  • Using hand schematics and photographs, redraw the circuitry
  • Consider duplicating the system for the other Skyneedle
  • Considering building a spare controller
  • Write up enough documentation for future use and troubleshooting

In terms of Redundancy/Backup/Failure Options:

  • The switches at the base of the tower will work if the control box is energized
  • The switches at the base of the tower can be made to work with alternative power applied
  • Local electrician who helped troubleshoot and set up the system said they could build a replacement PLC controlled based system, that could be easier to remotely control.
  • The present Skyneedle manufacturer’s system could be retrofitted.

73

Steve

K9ZW

 

 

Creating Durable Systems – Feedlines and Antenna Switching

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

The Feedlines and Antenna Switching system can be broken down further:

  • Feedlines to Skyneedle main tower with multiple antennas
  • Feedline to Flagpole Vertical Antenna
  • Feedline to woodland antenna box
  • RX-only feedlines to RBOGs (Reversible Beverage (antennas) On Ground)
  • Feedline to portable antenna test area

The needs for its final build-out, testing and commissioning include:

  • Radio to Feedline Selection Point
  • Feedline Selection Point to individual feedline routing to destination
  • Destination selection of specific antenna in some instances (second switch level)

In way of documentation to make future troubleshooting and repairs easier the links are:

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