Category Archives: K9ZW Built

NW Digital Radio DRAWS in its Correct Case

The K9ZW #1 NW Digital Radio DRAWS is in its correct case.

Started putting my ARRL email on gear in case we get separated.

I’ve started into labeling ports on my equipment in an effort to improve “self-documentation” of gear. Why have to scramble later to online or paper documentation to confirm what voltage and polarity is required? Or whether the Right/Left port naming is by looking “out” from the ports or “looking inwards” at them?

Upper L-R – GPS, Left Radio, Right Radio then the Lower L-R – 5vdc, HDMI 1 & 2, Audio

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NW Digital DRAWS – Build Part 1

Building a Portable Digital HF station for use in various activations I have planned for summer/fall 2021. Hope to have the DRAWS/RADIO set up and running before this summer.  I am NOT going to drag a FlexRadio Flex-6000 to some of the places I hope to operate from.

On the digital side I am using a Raspberry Pi (4B) with a specialized add-on bit of hardware, the North West Digital Radio DRAWS that will add a GPS/on-board clock and the necessary interfaces.

Initial intention is to us a SGC-2020 transceiver, but I may drag a TenTec Jupiter to my activations instead.  I will use a keyboard and mouse to control the actual digital software for the activations, WSJT or perhaps fldigi.

The DRAWS is a neat bit of kit that should streamline my station and reduce the component count. That said it is as best semi-documented and a bit of a work in process intended for those willing to roll their sleeves up to get it configured, wired and going. Not very plug-n-play at all.

Raspberry Pi 4B and NW Digital Radio DRAWS HAT

Some courtesy definitions:

DRAWS = Digital Radio Amateur WorkStation developed by North West Digital Radio http://nwdigitalradio.com/draws/
Raspberry Pi = the series of small single-board computers developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation along with Broadcom. https://www.raspberrypi.org
Raspberry Pi HAT = Raspberry Pi extension board, both because it sits like a “hat” on top of the Raspberry Pi microcomputer and as the original meaning apparently was “Hardware Attached on Top”  https://github.com/raspberrypi/hats/blob/master/README.md

A bit about the DRAWS lifted from the NWDR website:

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Radials first the Home QTH part 2

Of course the day started cold, right around freezing with a light frost on the ground.  A bit colder than usual for mid-May around here.

32F/0c – cold for May 12th around here

 

The white frost still shows in the shade. Temperatures did get up to 53F/12c for a glorious half-hour. – Notice the old tow-behind cutter.

First job was to move the old tow-behind cutter that is a lawn decoration.  Had to be pried from the ground and dragged out of the hole where it had settled into.  The tractor’s hear lift did the jacking and the ATV dragged it away.

Next stakes went in to provide guidance for both the pattern and for the radial lengths.  I put in 12 stakes at 30-degrees from each other. I made up a rope harness that with a layout line worked out to the length for each radial.  As radial fields are not precision work the angles were spot checked as were the lengths.

Here is the result:

They are all in. We’re raking and leveling.

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Building a Portable FT-8 Vertical Antenna

Taking much inspiration from recent posts on the US Islands group.io reflector and his previous articles I’m endovoring to emulate John KL7JR’s efforts to use Wilson FTG-2 CB antenna tuned to useful ham band frequencies.

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FTG-2 with the 20m whip

A quick ordering spree at Amazon and a dash to the local Ace Hardware got things going.

What I bought were:

From Amazon:

From the Hardware Store:

  • A 10×32 knurled cap screw to replace the set screw in the FGT-2 antenna ($0.55 plus tax)
  • Several lengths (nominal 72 inch long) 12-gauge “ceiling tile” wire, the galvanized wire used by suspended ceiling installers to hang ceiling grids ($0.99 each plus tax)

For testing I used my SARK-110 analyzer and I used a common fence-pliers to cut & form the wire.

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Midnight Design Solutions Phaser 20m FT8 Transceiver Kit Has Arrived

The week of December 9th 2019 I ordered one of Dave Benson’s K1SWL’s newest kit designs, Midnight Design Solutions Phaser, in the 20m version, along with an enclosure kit.

The kits arrived on January 10th 2020, earlier than originally predicted or expected.

Here is look inside a a Phaser:

Midnight Design’s Phaser FT8 Transceiver

These radios are single band designs, and the main FT8 frequency for the band is fixed, while an alternative frequency is defined but can be used modified. Actually it appears that the programming will work out of band, but the filtering & circuits not so much.

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Midnight Design Solutions Phaser 20m FT8 Transceiver Kit Ordered

Last week I ordered one of Dave Benson’s K1SWL’s newest kit designs, Midnight Design Solutions Phaser, in the 20m version.

Excited about a kit that also catches the current fad of FT8 by design.

Ordered their neat looking enclosure kit as well.

I’ve built Dave K1SWL designed kits in the past with great success. He does a great job of builder-friendly designs.

Here is look inside a 40 or 80m build:

Midnight Design’s Phaser FT8 Transceiver

 

These radios are single band designs, and the main FT8 frequency for the band is fixed, while an alternative frequency is defined but can be used modified.

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