Category Archives: K9ZW Just Rambled

March 2019 – Lots of little Updates at K9ZW

Lots of little updates:

Skipping Dayton 2019 – just doesn’t fit into my calendar well and I really should be somewhere else when the show is running in May.

Tentative on the W9DXCC in September – I think they are at a new place and I’ve penciled the date on the calendar.  Will make a final decision in summer.

Progressing on the rack project – have started putting gear in place but haven’t wired anything.  More getting the look and feel down at this stage.

New Radio Room is progressing – new floors are varnished.  Waiting on the electrical, underground fiber & phone to be pulled, and lighting to finish up.  Everything has to come out of the original area so I can clean and varnish the original floor.  This is going to have a bunch of two-man tasks, so I’ll need to enlist some help. Also have two more replacement windows on order that need to go in.

Have a 2-meter repeater in Coordination – the 145.110 repeater became a personal project in March 2019, and I’ve applied to the Wisconsin Association of Repeaters (W.A.R.) to (re)coordinate the repeater under my call sign.  Once the coordination is complete a Yaesu Wires-X/Fusion Digital Repeater will replace the old gear.

Wrapped up my leadership involvement in ManCoRad – the Manitowoc County Radio Club became a subsidiary of another area club, and won’t need a separate Secretary/Treasurer.  I’ll be a plain old regular member of the combined club.

Planning the Station Move from our previous Shepherd Lane QTH to the new Branch, WI QTH – as the old house remains on the market it is time to get the tower down and the rest of the station moved over.  I’f like to get a tower up at the new QTH before pulling down the present station, as I do like using it remotely and during my house-checks every other day or so.  Lots of work involved.

Lots of Winter Road damage and wash-outs to fix at the new QTH – there is approaching a mile of private one-lane road on the new QTH property  with a dozen or so culvert-bridges over two unnamed streams that have taken a beating with the massive snow and sudden melt-off.  Presently waiting for it to dry up enough to get at the work.

Island QTH is going to get some sort of Tower this year – I’m in a bit of a redesign phase on exactly what, but now that the Garage Project is done it is time to get something more serious up for an antenna and to get the feed lines buried.

Lots more small stuff of course!



Some Further FT8 Thoughts

Okay what is FT8 like after a bunch of QSOs?

Personally I cannot see FT8 being “my radio experience” by itself. The QSOs are fairly soulless and while technically fulfilling every aspect of a recordable QSO they lack the gravitas of a human-to-human QSO.

As we all use some aids to our radio efforts, whether Spots, Keyers, Memories, Macros and other QSO-flow-aids there is no point in getting self righteous about the highly automated FT8 QSO experience.

The hobby and regulatory consensus of what is a “true QSO” is easily met by FT8.

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Winter Station Casualty and Preparations for another K9ZW Back-Up Station, and my new 2m Repeater

Seems the weather has done some damage to the remote station at my old home.  Once the weather breaks I’ll have a chance to dig out the snow around the tower connection box and see if I can jumper past what appears to be a dysfunctional remote Antenna Switch.

I’ve had this particular Array Solutions RatPAK6N switch in use for years, but from the in the shack testing it isn’t working correctly.  With weather that have been everything from -25F to 50F, raining, sleeting and now snowing again it may have nothing more than a connection problem.

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K9ZW new QTH winter interim plans

Winter has overtaken plans to have a temporary station up and running at the new QTH.  When lows are -28F I’m not going to get any quality antenna work done outside.

The new workshop/radio room is close to being ready to start setting this up.

I’ve brought the SteppIR CrankIR back from the Washington Island QTH but am doubtful that the weather extremes wouldn’t damage the antenna.  Subzero temperatures covered in an inch of ice, while being wind-whipped relentlessly is pretty extreme for this type of antenna.

We have so much wildlife at the new QTH that I need to give that some thought too.  Here is an example of some of the fourteen deer in the yard yesterday.

Some of the fourteen deer in the yard Feb 9th 2019

I do have a long unused GAP Titian DX stored in the backyard at the old house, which could be rescued from storage and set up temporarily.

Or a dipole could be hoisted given a fair day of weather.

Presently I am remoting to the Flex-6700 station at the old house, as the tower & station will first come down early spring.






Withering Lows – Another Radio Club Bites the Dust

Currently I’m part of a small group helping the remnants of 70+ year old radio club “merge” into another club.

The exact details of why this had to happen mostly sound like bitterness when retold except for a couple standout observations:

First without regular infusions of new blood a club will die.  Parents need to encourage their children and their children’s friends to join the hobby, and join the club to make a go of it.

Second is if members lose trust in the leadership a club is done for. If the leadership is seen as self-serving and given a pass rather than held accountable by the members the cancer is too great to cure.

Third a club needs bench strength. Without enough willing talent to take on club roles when someone in leadership is transferred away or becomes ill, it’s done.

Fourth there is a critical membership mass below which their is no long term durability to a club.   Maybe a bridge group can make it some years with just enough players to fill out the hands, but a club needs leaders, players, learners and camp followers all to carry on.

Fifth the member’s needs have to be all about participating rather than “having somebody serve them.” If the members are all “take” and low on the “give” part of the equation there really isn’t even a club there anymore.

Sixth is that fixation on money, assets, gear and other stuff is foolishness that misses the real reason a club happens – it’s all about the people.  It is only the folks involved that matter.

My observations is that to survive a club can’t violate too many of these six precepts, at least not for the long run.  YMMV in your specific club, but if you get these things right the club is going to do much better at being around for the next generation.



FlexRadio Systems announces multiFlex in SmartSDR version 3

Today FlexRadio lifted the veils on multiFlex, a major feature for the new version 3 of SmartSDR.

Basically this is a way to share a single Flex-6000 between operators, who can be remote.

The entry 6300/6400 radios can be shared by two operators each with one panadapter and one slice receiver, sharing one antenna.

The king of the series 6700 have eight panadapter stories share with lots of slice receivers across two separate antennas.

Both of my 6700s have v3 as I’m a participant in the Alpha testing program.  From what I’m seeing it looks to be another “game changer” by FlexRadio Systems.