Category Archives: Flex-6000

What Time is it? Can you hear me? FT8 Timing Issues – Part 2

Spent some time just watching FT8 waterfalls, where it is obvious that some stations are off timing.

What is telling that quite a few seem to be on the same “off” together, suggesting that there may be a computer clock induced issue.

Ragged Finish to an FT8 Cycle

Ragged Start to an FT8 Cycle

My theory is that many stations experienced the same NTP issue simultaneously moves their time sync off in-mass.

If the cumulative offset is too much, decoding stops and the operator will look for a fix, otherwise they will continue on.

There are specifications to all this, but as I mentioned upgrading my NTP service to the latest sorted out my PCs.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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What Time is it? Can you hear me? FT8 Timing/Sound Woes and Corrections

Time is important to do Digital Modes

One of the workstations I remotely use to run my stations is under enterprise update control, resulting in less say when patches and updates get applied.

Seems the latest round of updates messed with two things – time and sound. Kind of the two most important parts to run a timed digital mode like FT8!

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Tidying up is Important – K9ZW Island Rack

Sometimes the small things matter a lot.

The Island Rack basically has been put together piecemeal, and now that it is settling into an all-FlexRadio setup it was time to tidy things up.

Here is the backside of the rack:

K9ZW Island Rack – Backside View

Kind of a “So What?!” picture as I forgot to capture before tidy-up shots.

Changes made include:

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Printed Flex-6000 Series Manuals

Several new FlexRadio Flex-6000 series owners have emailed me asking about pre-printed manuals.

FlexRadio as a Software Defined Radio outfit sends a CD with new radios (or at least mine came with them) and depends on downloads for updates.

That is great if you are somewhere with good cheap connectivity and if you are like me where a printed manual is helpful, are willing to print out a copy.

Peter WA2CWA at the ManualMan has an arrangement to offer preprinted manuals: ManualMan.com FlexRadio Manuals

Technically the Hardware and Software manuals are different downloads, which ManualMan offers unpunched, pre-punched or comb-bound.

They print the latest public released version, unless you ask them for an older version.

I started using their manuals when my Flex-5000A arrived in 2008 – WHERE IS THE BOOK ON THIS THING? – HIGH QUALITY VINTAGE MANUALS FROM THE MANUALMAN

Of course they offer a lot of other manuals, claiming to have some 15,000+ manuals available!!!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Welcoming 2021 – First QSO if the year is DX with Yoon HL5BLI – Flex-to-Flex too!

A few Edits after communicating by email with Yoon HL5BLI

 

After my morning swim – also a first for the new year – I stopped at my office to do a couple small chores.  I ran up my remote Flex-6700 at the home QTH and set it to run FT8 while I watered my plants and fiddled with a new trackball mouse.

Wow – almost right away (after my second CQ K9ZW transmission) I hit a DX QSO from a country that is uncommon when I am working with my vertical on 30m.

It was HL5BLI Soo-won Yoon from Ulsan city, on the south east coast of South Korea. Yoon came in strong and we quickly complete our QSO.

It was really nice that first K9ZW 2021 QSO ended up being a DX QSO, and as I found when I looked up his call on QRZ.com, an all FlexRadio QSO to boot!

Yoon HL5BLI uses a Flex-6400 and I was using a Flex-6700 as we made the 10,400 KM (roughly 6,500 mile) QSO.   Later by email Yoon HL5BLI confirmed he was also operating barefoot and that it was also his first QSO of 2021!!

A very good QSO to start off my 2021 radio efforts!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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A change in Antenna Direction at K9ZW Home QTH

On my main Skyneedle was supposed to go a RadioWavz Barrett Hexbeam with Broadband option.  The antenna was bought about four years ago and health and then a home QTH move kept it from going up in the air.

RadioWavz built this antenna with the high power and heavy duty options, and it is purported to work as a rotatable dipole on 160/80/60/30m, a 2el wire beam on 40/6m and as a 3el(+) wire beam on 20/17/15/12/10m.  Original configuration was using three antenna drop feedlines, but two can be combined with a harness they offered.

RadioWavz helped me out sending new element guides made of metal which replaced the DOA original fiberglass guides, replacing most of the parts missing from the original antenna (though the spare parts ordered have never arrived) and sold me a upgraded support rope set made of a Kevlar type material.

In the antenna building process twice I have had damage from deer getting into the antenna.

First incursion pulled a number of elements loose and broke one of the smaller fiberglass arm pieces.  My calls and emails to RadioWavz had not been answered, when I figured out who supplied the fiberglass.  Ordered new fiberglass parts direct and made the repair.

Second deer incursion again pulled some elements loose but this time half of the 40m element with insulators and spacer cord went missing.  Presumption is it was caught on the deer’s rack and carried away until it could be shaken loose.  The wire element I can cut locally but as my spare parts supply of extra insulators and cordage was never shipped, I’ve had to have the special insulators locally fabricated and I’m scrounging for similar cord.  Again my emails and calls have not been answered by RadioWavz.

What I have learned is that the business was sold to the next generation, and the founders retired to another state, plus the next generation is up to their eyeballs dealing with a child’s severe health issues.

I get it.  Family is WAY more important, period.
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