Category Archives: K9ZW Just Rambled

Could your Ham Radio become illegal? Pondering the logical extension of Red Flag processes.

The social temperament of contemporary society is to not look to ourselves for decorum & order, but to demand that government effectively act as a stern parent enforcing order.

This has led to the administrative process of Red Flag rules where on a unverified claim without due process legal sentencing is administer & enforced PRIOR to either an actual crime or fair trial.

There is are huge political and legal discussions behind this inversion of our legal system and constitution. In this piece I am simply “not going there” in suggesting we should debate these important societal decisions in an amateur radio blog, but rather want to pose a question very important to our hobby:

What if Red Flag rules end up being applied to Amateur Radio?

What if on the unsubstantiated claims made to the government if your station could be shut down or if you gear could be removed for protective custody?

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I’m a Ham or am I? When to be noticed and when to be unnoticed, and much much more!

Some ideas on being ready and when to notice/unnoticed to borrow from:

  • It is best to be prepared – remember Noah built the ark before the flood.
  • Someday you may be unexpectedly or unavoidably exposed and/or exploited by malignant actors with nefarious intentions.
  • Electronically you may need digital protection (including physical protection of equipment), identity management, and an understanding & control of your online & on-air signatures.
  • You may need to understand the tracking and fingerprinting of both digital & radio devices, along with countermeasures to limit your exposure.

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The FT8 Paradox

Mostly running as a background activity I’ve now made quite a few FT8 contacts.

In background-mode a typical day logs about 50 contacts.  I would be able to do more if I was focused on the actual radio activity, did something other than calling CQ, and wasn’t off the air for long periods where I really need my focus elsewhere.

FT8 is a Paradox.

Like or dislike FT8, or it is something in the middle?

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Dipping one’s toes in the SDR world – Clever Hack of a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ in the SDR sort of way

I’ve spotted this clever re-purposing of a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ as a sort of SDR which might be a way to get a bit of a taste as to what makes up an SDR:

The Raspberry Pi 3B+ As An SDR – Without The SDR!

The project is on my winter time list.



What is an SDR?

SDR – Software Defined Radio

What really is it?

Would seem that a generalized radio platform that is “made into” a radio by software is kind of the limit of the dictionary SDR concept.

As amateur radio operators we have added to that definition with concepts about software updates, sampling methods, and a whole raft of features that perhaps are neither specific to an SDR nor a requirement to meet the basic SDR definition.

Some things market expectations have added to the SDR concept is:

  • Ability to be updated by the end user, by download
  • Direct Sampling
  • Feature growth and bug correction by software updates
  • Tight integration with a computer
  • Panadaptors
  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Touch Screens
  • Remote Capabilities
  • IOT (Internet of Things) Capabilities
  • Station Integration with other station components

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End of an Era – Former Main K9ZW Station Decommissioning

The K9ZW station options is down a station as the Manitowoc, WI QTH radios have been silenced & moved.

Cables were pulled a bit ahead of schedule by the electricians. That caught me a bit off guard as I had the rest of the station running & considered it viable when the feed lines and rotor lines were removed a week earlier than scheduled!

The antennas and tower are scheduled to come down next week, and basically everything being removed will be gone by Labor Day.

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