Category Archives: K9ZW Just Rambled

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.

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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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SmartSDR v1.4 Available Now from FlexRadio Systems – Or How I Downloaded New Radios Tonight

Today FlexRadio Systems launched the long await LAN enabled SmartSDR v1.40

Here is my iMac running Parallels 9 with Windows 7.1 doing my first LAN enabled QSOs:

Working DX from my home office desk!  Radio is 120 ft away in the former wine cellar.

Working DX from my home office desk! Radio is 120 ft away in the former wine cellar.

More later – too much fun playing with the radio right now!! (BTW it happened to be the Flex-6300 I had in the operating slot in the shack.

FlexRadio Systems is pleased to announce the availability of SmartSDR v1.4.   SmartSDR v1.4 represents several months of intensive work on both new and existing features by our software team.  SmartSDR v1.4 is for all FLEX-6000 Signature Series radios.  Key features of v1.4 include:

LAN Remote: SmartSDR for Windows can now be operationally “decoupled” from the radio hardware by providing the ability to play slice receiver audio through the default PC speakers and use the default PC microphone to make phone QSOs. This new feature streams compressed audio over the IP connection between the radio and the SmartSDR client on the PC, eliminating the need for the speakers and microphone to be directly connected to the radio hardware. In order to provide diagnostic capabilities for the LAN Remote feature there are two new features. The Network Quality Monitor and Audio Streaming Monitor provide a visual indication of a network’s link capability to adequately stream audio to the PC, which is essential when using a wireless link between the client PC and the radio hardware.

via SmartSDR v1.4 Available Now | FlexRadio Systems Community.

73

Steve
K9ZW

New FREECOM perfect radio – AnyTone Tech TERMN-8R Dual Band Radio

AnyTone Termn-8R Mega-HT

Just ordered a new handheld: AnyTone Tech TERMN-8R Dual Band Radio.

The TERMN-8R includes built-in GMRS and MURS modes with 23 GMRS channels and 5 MURS Channels. The TERMN-8R is FCC Certified for Part 90 and Part 95 usage. The TERMN-8R is able to Transmit and Receive fully on Narrowband (12.5kHz).

The TERMN-8R is one of the most flexible radios available, it can receive transmissions on 6 Different Bands. It can receive on UHF (400-520MHz), VHF (136-174MHz), Aircraft AM (108-136MHz), FM Broadcasts (64-108MHz), Short-Wave AM (2.3-30MHz), and AM Broadcasts (520-1710kHz). Plus NOAA

The TERMN-8R has two built-in receivers (full duplex). You can receive two signals at the same time; you can even transmit and scan (or receive) at the same time! The TERMN-8R also allows you to use your radio as a cross band repeater (VHF/UHF or UHF/VHF).

and much more. Arrives to the K9ZW Shack Wednesday.

73

Steve
K9ZW

 

EDIT March 29th 2015

Got busy and the radio sat unopened.  To my disappointment the radio is unusable, having been produced with a faulty antenna socket (lacks the required threads).  Very suspect, as how could the raid have passed Quality Control?  And how could it have even been tested once assembled?

 

Anytone Termn-8R missing threads

Anytone Termn-8R missing threads

The radio has gone back for a refund.  I cannot afford to depend on gear that hasn’t even had basic QC performed.

 

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Comparison Part 2 … Hilberling PT-8000 in the K9ZW Shack

As mentioned I have arranged to have a very rare radio – a Hilberling PT-800A Transceiver –  in my shack for an a lengthy trial, including some A/B testing against my radios (including the FlexRadio System 6700 and 6300 models).

Hiberling PT-8000 Transceiver

Hilberling PT-8000 Transceiver

Finally I’ve arrange some time to get some more QSOs on the PT-8000A.

There is no question the PT-8000A delivers the goods.  Compared to other than the FlexRadio System 6×00 series radios it easily waxes my other radios.

There are a couple quirks that sent me back to the PT-8000A’s manual:

  • Setting Up Split lacks some of the confirmation of TX frequency that has become customary.  The TX frequency is in the Sub Window and the Split indicator the opposite side of the screen and then an inverse of soft key colors if that menu is showing.  Shooting a frequency into the Sub is not horrible, but again is across the radio ergonomically.
  • The PT-8000A’s key touch courtesy tone adjustment/mute is not documented, and I have put in an email requesting instructions on toning this down.
  • While no worse than many modern high-end transceivers, I don’t have the operating hands across the radio face quite sorted out, and I’m slow setting things up.  Some things are my foibles, like:
    • I would prefer rotating controls that also have a push control to be a click & stay push-pull rather than a silky smooth momentary push button.  My ideas is if you have tactile feedback, make it persistent and intuitive.
    • I would prefer an indicator at the control, rather than having to look around on the screen for a different shaped & different sequenced indicator.  Make it simple.
    • Seldom manipulated controls could have been made to disappear nearly flush to the faceplate rather than left proud.

Working DX the amazing ability of the Flex-6×00 does dig a bit deeper, but the Hilberling is no slouch.  That the PT-8000A is up an operating in seconds running 200w barefoot is certainly an awesome feature compared to booting hardware & software for an SDR radio with PC of any type.

More as I work across the bands in the next few parts of this comparison.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Comparison Part 1 … Hilberling PT-8000 in the K9ZW Shack

As mentioned I have arranged to have a very rare radio – a Hilberling PT-800A Transceiver –  in my shack for an a lengthy trial, including some A/B testing against my radios (including the FlexRadio System 6700 and 6300 models).

Hiberling PT-8000 Transceiver

Hilberling PT-8000 Transceiver

The first QSO I made with the transceiver was to W1AW/1 in RI. With travel and work I’ve only a dozen or so contacts with it so far, and the initial impression is of excellence in transceiver design. Everything is first rate – the power supply/speaker and cables are lab equipment grade and supply the 50v DC allowing for 200w performance.

I’ve finally arrange some time to get some more QSOs on the PT-8000A.

Initial impressions – the radio drips of quality.  High grade connectors, small details well executed, use of best available technology – the PT-8000A delivers the goods.

So far the only quirk I haven’t figured out is how to reduce the volume of the courtesy key-touch beeps.

Walking through things – the connectors are high grade N-connectors for antennas, a unusual power-supply to radio connector that looks aerospace in origin, and everything is polished/chromed or finished in the Hilberling Blue finish.  Everything about the PT-8000A reminds me of an upscale European Stereo system – like a Revox or B+O grade build quality.

Using the PT-8000A is much like running any high quality transceiver, with the exception that the menu system is shallower and the precision of adjustments impressive.  I’ve always been frustrated with the 6-7 levels deep menu systems many transceiver deploy, and much prefer the Hilberling style of menus.

The display is awesome – and actually the software at its present level doesn’t really do justice to the high grade display.  The power supply meg-meter is current draw, which is fine but hardly seems the first choice to dedicate such a large bit of front face real estate to display.

Initial SSB reports have been enthusiastically positive, with several QSO partners commenting about the broadcast-like sound quality.

I like the supplied desk mic, as it is clever in appearance and in performance.

More, including some contrasts with the Flex-6700 in the next few parts of this comparison.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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