Category Archives: K9ZW Operations

K9ZW Home Remote Back Up, SPOT BBS Close

K9ZW Home QTH Station is back up for my remote operations.  SPOT BBS project is close, but not up yet.

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Sixteen Days and What Do You Get? – K9ZW Home Remote Back Up

Old sayings:

“Troubles never arrive alone.” (Central European Saying)


Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time…

One little SSD in my OPNSense Router takes a dive, and the knock-on effects ripple across the LAN and across WAN access.

Sixteen days ago that SSD borked the K9ZW Home Station’s remote capabilities along with about everything else at our home.

As I type I am making the first QSOs of a temporarily restored setup, using a low-feature router in place of the failed unit.

Some upsides is that most of the data from the failed SSD was recovered, including the OPNSense configuration file, the temporary router seems to be working well enough, and other than SPOT BBS which needs another configuration sort out to be back up, things are running.

Downsides is the original device ate the replacement SSD and the problem may be deeper than a bad SSD. The replacement ordered – a Q1055GE PfSense Industrial Router 8 * 2.5GbE I225V B3 LAN Intel Core i5-10210U Processor 6M Cache, up to 4.20 GHz Fanless Mini PC AES-NI 4*USB Rs232 Firewall Appliance(8G DDR4 RAM, 256G mSATA SSD) – will take a couple weeks to arrive. And the SPOT BBS configuration remains an enigma as I made less notes than I need now to unravel the software specific reconfiguring – that is a “my bad” issue.

So little by little the gremlins are being dealt with!  And it is a lot more fun to be back on the air remotely!




Stuff Breaks – Router Failure affects K9ZW Station and SPOT BBS Project

Minor hardware failure with replacement parts already in the works, has put the SPOT BBS and the remote aspect of the Home QTH K9ZW Station off line.

An internal SSD failed in a router/firewall, failing well before the expected MTBF.

Simply did not have time to program in the ports and configurations into the backup setup with everything else going on.




Remote Operation Log hits 30-Thousand QSOs

Was somewhat surprised that my Remote operations from my workspace has already hit 30,000 logged QSOs.

I started ramping up the remote operations in earnest during the virus lockdowns, as I was one designated to actually come into the office so a signatory & officer was onsite.

The almost all of the remote QSOs are FT8 and use my Home-QTH station. or Work-QTH station.  So they were either remote by 300 feet to another building here at work or 10 miles remote if my home station was used.

The remote log excludes other QTH logs (Island, non-remote home, mobile) and anything I did remote before 2019, as my earlier remote efforts were logged in my main log rather than segregated.

Logged as the 30,000th remote QSO was George W2GLH on 30 meters FT8!

Details: 2022-11-21 12:44:00 W2GLH FM29 10.136362 FT8 Sent: +08 Rcvd: -02

Thank you George W2GLH!!



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PMing Your Radio

After writing my Quiet Word about FlexRadio I realized it has been some time since my main Flex-6700 had any serious preventative maintenance (PM).

Recently I has sent my RiserBond TDR off to be PM’ed and recalibrated.  I have had a fellow ham do PMs on all mu Collins S-Line gear.

So why do I not have my other gear on a schedule for PM?

What should that PM schedule look like?  Based on hour powered up, hours on the air, the raw passage of time, or?

Most of us pull a PM when something isn’t working correctly or breaks down.

At that point if the problem is with the gear we are maintaining it is not really PM, rather break-down response, and if the gear that broke down is actually something else we find ourselves doing PM influenced by another gear problem rather than the actual unit we would be PMing.

So I have broken down my gear’s PM schedule into:

FlexRadio/4o3a and Solid State Gear, if in active use:

  • User level PM annually
  • Bench Grade PM at three year intervals

FlexRadio/4o3a and Solid State Gear, if NOT in active use:

  • User PM annually if openly stored/prepositioned
  • No user PM requirement if in sealed storage

Tube Gear if in active use:

  • User and professional PM per the manufacturer’s recommendation (user level at least annually)

Tube Gear if NOT in active use:

  • User PM annually if openly stored/prepositioned
  • No user PM requirement if in sealed storage and the gear is fully updated
  • PM prior to return to service if in sealed storage and NOT fully updated

Cables/Incidentals (only if in use as part of the station):

  • Inspection/PM annually.

Anything Outside:

  • An additional inspection and seasonal maintenance pre-winter and post winter

Anything to be Sold:

  • A pre-listing inspection and PM, including run-up if appropriate

Not certain if I will make specific inspection and PM notes for each major unit , or let common sense guide the PMs.  Hmmm….



An Unusual QSL Batch

August 1st 2022 DX QSL card haul (was four envelopes)

The NIDXA W9 bureau (Northern Illinois DX Association) is awesome and fairly regularly I will get one their brown NIDXA envelopes with another batch of inbound QSL cards. (Link to NIDXA is

Each envelope contains roughly 10-11 cards, an amount sized to best manage the postal costs.

Every now and then I might get two of these brown NIDXA envelopes in a given day, or back to back on successive days.

Monday August 1st (2022) my inbound mail was unusual, as there were Four NIDXA envelopes!  Each had the typical 10-11 cards in them!  Woo Hoo!

The breakdown by country was:

  • 5 cards from Holland
  • 1 card from Belgium
  • 3 cards from the Ukraine
  • 5 cards from Japan
  • 29 cards from Germany

Quite a nice batch of QSL cards.

Other than replying to direct QSL cards received, I haven’t done a bulk DX QSL card print since well before the pandemic.

For my DX outbound I had been using GlobalQSL but they seemed to have shut shop during the pandemic.  I haven’t been able to find out the backstory, but with the modest credit I had with GlobalQSL I also depended on them for reference on to what date I had QSLed up to in my logs.

Once I figure out what date to start from and filter out domestic QSOs, I will to find a new service.

One that I am trying out is the Spanish QDure service – as they seem ready to handle the many thousand DX cards in arrears that I want to catch up on.  I’ve done 15,000 QSL cards as a trial order with QDure and will see how this works out.  As it turns out they will do Domestic QSLs for me as well.  Kind of curious how that works out, but it is worth the try!

Looking for any other suggestions where I can download my QSO data and have cards printed and sent to bureaus?



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